The Cooks Beachcare Group consists of residents and ratepayers working in partnership with local Government agencies to protect valuable dunes at the western end of this Mercury Bay beach (~1.3 km). The group aims to replace invasive exotic weeds with naturally occurring native plants in consultation with local residents and without significantly restricting views or beach access. The land is esplanade reserve, managed by Thames Coromandel District Council (TCDC) who assist as required. Following site preparation, native plants, such as, pingao and knobby club rush are planted to help protect the dunes and repair storm damage. These native plants also support nesting sites of NZ Dotteral and Variable Oystercatcher, and provide refuge for lizards and insects such as the coastal copper butterfly. Check out the group at www.cooksbeachcare.org.nz
Restoration is much more than just pulling weeds and planting native plants.
The Mangaiti Gully Restoration Trust tackles restoration in a very holistic way.
Rex Bushell, coordinator of the Trust is keen on encouraging the return of native creatures. “The reason we want native bush back in Hamilton gullies is so that it supports native and endemic fauna species,” he said.
The Trust has a number of programmes in place to support this objective. “Eradicating resident rats and possums and controlling reinvasion has resulted in a very successful tūī breeding season last year. You know you are on the right track when people who live on the gully say that they see and hear more native birds in the gully than they do when they visit the bush elsewhere in New Zealand,” Rex said.
The Trust has a long term planting programme to encourage kererū, (native wood pigeons) back into the city. There are the endemic long finned eel which are classified as nationally at-risk/declining and there are giant and banded kōkopu in the stream.
Stream planting programmes and management to support these species and an understanding of their requirements are an import part of any native forest restoration.
Rex said that the most exciting recent news is the identification in the gully of the New Zealand long-tailed bat or pekapeka. For some years now there has been a city wide bat survey and until last year it recorded them only in the south of the city.
However in 2018 one fly-past was recorded in the Mangaiti gully and this year two were recorded. With these encouraging signs the Trust has set up a programme to install twelve bat homes (roosting boxes) in 1.6 km of the gully running from Thomas Road to Wairere Drive.
The long-tailed bat can be found throughout New Zealand in varying habitats, but numbers are declining because of the removal of trees, predation by pests such as rats and stoats and competition for a diminishing number of roosting sites with other animals and birds.
Hamilton is one of the few cities in New Zealand that supports a resident bat population.
Because they fly at night few people are aware of them. Long-tail bats are capable of long distance flight and are nomadic. They do not stay in one roost site like many overseas bat colonies but move among a number of roosts. During breeding season the colonies may split up with males and females occupying different roosts.
“These are really interesting little fellows” said Rex. “Their body size is only slightly bigger than a mouse, so they are very small compared to other bats.”
This restoration work is happening right here in Hamilton’s Huntington suburb.
If you feel you would like to be involved in this type of project the Trust runs working bees every Wednesday morning. For more information contact Rex Bushell on phone 854-0973 / 021-237-3857 or email email@example.com.
The Weedbusters website is a great resource and “go to place” for checking out which plants are weeds and how to control them. Weedbusters is about working together to stop weedy plants taking over New Zealand's amazing natural areas. Weedy plants are one of the greatest threats to New Zealand’s parks, reserves, coasts, bush remnants, wetlands and alpine areas. Many of these weeds are ornamental plants that have ‘jumped the fence’ from gardens and gone wild. It costs councils, government departments and private landowners millions of dollars, and volunteers and community groups thousands of unpaid hours, to control these weeds every year. Check out the website and see what you can do to help stop the spread of these invasive plants - you can make a big difference!
Welcome to the Waikato Biodiversity Forum
The Waikato Biodiversity Forum is a partnership between research and management agencies, iwi groups, private landowners, communities and projects in relation to native biodiversity in the Waikato region of New Zealand.
The Forum's region of interest extends down to the northern slopes of the Tongariro National Park, across to Mokau on the west coast and up to just north of Port Waikato and includes the Coromandel Peninsula and land west of the Kaimais.
For information about the Forum click on About Us page or phone 0800 BIODIV (246348)