Tracks and huts
- Maintenance and repairs of the Longview Hut track have been carried out, with four new culverts installed.
- Something positive may come of the Manawatu Gorge slip. We are working with the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) and neighbouring landowner Tom Shannon to develop a loop option at the western end of the Manawatu Gorge Track. From the existing track, visitors will be able to view the slip site from a lookout built at the top of the slip. From there, they will follow the vehicle access track created by the NZTA to the reserve boundary and loop back to the car park at the Ashhurst end of the gorge via Mr Shannon’s property.
The Contact Energy crew at Papaitonga Scenic Reserve
- On Friday 30 May, a team from the Contact Energy call centre joined DOC ranger Dan Tuohy at Papaitonga Scenic Reserve for their annual conservation workday. The entire track was cut, and drains and culverts were cleared out. A barbecue lunch was very well received by hungry mouths.
A lot of the public conservation estate is surrounded by private land, and in some cases access is only available at the discretion of the landowners. This access is a privilege, not a right. It is very important that, where required, you arrange access every time with landowners before you set out on your trip.
For Ruahine Forest Park access, landowner information is available from the DOC Manawatu Rangitikei area office, phone 06-3509700. Prior permission is required for:
- Purity Hut track via Mangakukeke Road
- Kelly Knight and Pourangaki hut tracks via Kohunui Station, off Mangakuke Road
- Kawhatau Base, Crow Hut, McKinnon Hut and Colenso trig via Rangitane Road
- The Pohangina sidle track to access Mid-Pohangina hut without walking the river (off Pohangina Valley East Road)
- Te Ekaou and Forks huts (off Pohangina Valley East Road)
- Diane’s Hut, Dead Dog Hut, Ruahine Hut, and Shutes Hut via No Man’s Road/Big Hill Station. This access is managed by a balloted access permit system.
- Makaretu Hut, Happy Daze Hut and Awatere Hut via the river from Makaretu Road.
You should also be considerate of the private property you are crossing. Do not disturb livestock, make sure you leave gates as you find them and that they are properly latched.
Meet the locals: Giant carnivorous land snails
Powelliphanta traversi tararuaensis in the Kahuterawa valleyLurking amongst the leaf litter in various spots throughout New Zealand are giant meat-eating snails. We have populations of two species of these wonderous beasts in our neighbourhood; Powelliphanta traversi tararuensis can be found in several spots around the foothills of the Tararua ranges, while P. marchanti can be found in the Ruahine ranges.
Powelliphanta can live up to 20 years on damp forest floors, foraging for food at night. They mainly prey on earthworms but are also known to eat slugs, using a row of sharp, backward-facing teeth to grab their prey before devouring it using digestive enzymes.
Their endangered status is a result of the destruction of their habitats and being preyed upon by animals such as possums, pigs and rats. Search www.doc.govt.nz to find out more about these giants of the snail world.
Forest & Bird outdoor activities
Forest & Bird have a series of working bees planned for May. If you’re looking for something to do on a Saturday, join in and get your hands dirty.
19 May - Sixtus Lodge Outdoor Education Centre
Come for the day and help get rid of problem plants. Or make it a “work and walk weekend” where you work in the bush on Saturday then walk the surrounding tracks on Sunday. You’ll need to take your own food and drink, linen, tools, etc. Contact Midge; phone 06-3574877 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
26 May - Keebles Bush
Get familiar with the forest floor while helping Jill Rapson & friends remove Tradescantia, an invasive from South America, at this reserve between Massey and Linton. A 10am start for a weekend sleep in. Contact Jill; phone 06-3589088 or email G.Rapson@massey.ac.nz
Matariki whanau health day
When: Thursday 21 June, from 10am - 2pm
Where: Highbury Whanau Centre in Monrad Park
Celebrate ‘Matariki’ - Maori New Year - by coming along to the Matariki Whanau Health Day.
Hosted by Te Wakahuia Manawatu & the Highbury Social Club, it will include a manu/ kite flying competition, a healthy hangi and other ka pai kai for sale, displays about healthy living from community organisations, with local people demonstrating their skills to keep us entertained throughout the day. For more information call Chrissy on 06-3573400 or 021405227.
Weekday working bees
Kahuterawa Bush Remnant Restoration
Thursday 31 May, 9.30am – 4pm
Kahuterawa Bush Remnant, off State Highway 57 near Linton Military Camp
Help clear tracks of weeds and release trees (finding them amongst the grass and weeds, and clearing an area around them so they don’t get smothered).
Call Kelly on 06-3509708 or email email@example.com before 4pm on Friday 25 May to register.
Living Legends planting maintenance
Tuesday 19 June 2012, 9.30 am – 4 pm
Manawatu Gorge Scenic Reserve
As part of the Rugby World Cub celebrations last year, 5000 native trees were planted on an old slip site in Manawatu Gorge Scenic Reserve. It has been 9 months since they were planted, so they should be established now and in need of a little TLC. We’ll be doing a general ‘health check’ of the site and releasing the trees from any long grass and weeds growing around them.
You cannot drive directly to the planting site; some walking will be involved. The planting site is a long, steep slip so you need to be quite fit.
Call Kelly on 06-350-9708 or email firstname.lastname@example.org before 4pm on Monday 11 June to register.
Slip down to the Manawatu Gorge open day
Sunday 20 May 10am–3pm, State Highway 3 Manawatu Gorge
The NZ Transport Agency with the Manawatu Events Equipment Trust, in support of the Palmerston North Rescue Helicopter, are inviting the public to come down to the gorge for a charity open day.
There’ll be stalls with food, drink and other goodies, and free charter buses provided. A gold coin donation would be appreciated. You can drive to the Ashhurst end of the gorge – parking is provided. Or take a free charter bus from Palmerston North, Ashhurst or Woodville.
Check www.nzta.govt.nz/manawatu-gorge or email email@example.com for more details.
Kiwi Conservation Club
The Kiwi Conservation Club, also known as KCC, is the children’s branch of Forest & Bird. The Manawatu & Tararua branch is coordinated by Rowan Bell. They have some fantastic activities coming up, which are great for young families.
- Bushy park trip Sunday 27 May
- Tree planting with Forest & Bird weekends in May & June
- Bush craft skills Saturday 9 - Sunday 10 June
- Annual garden bird survey Sunday 1 July
- Junior Ranger Day at Pukaha Mount Bruce Wildlife Centre Wednesday 11 July
- Wellington Zoo sleepover Saturday 27 - Sunday 28 July
To find out more, visit www.kcc.org.nz or contact Rowan - phone 06-3541811 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Let us know what you think of DOC places
Sunrise Hut in the Ruahine Forest Park
If you have visited a DOC-managed place recently, let us know what you thought of it! Tell us if work needs to be done, you have ideas for improvements or you just want to let us know how much you love the place.
You can do this anonymously on our website by completing an online feedback form. Or, you can call us on 06-3509700, email email@example.com, or call in to see us at 717 Tremaine Avenue, Palmerston North.
Reel Earth film festival is on now!
Palmerston North has been home to the Reel Earth environmental film festival since it began in 2004.
Featuring a great line-up of 56 global films, the 2012 festival will culminate with the Reel Earth Big Night Out Gala Awards at Regent Theatre on Saturday 19 May.
For a full programme, visit www.reelearth.org.nz
Free computer recycling at the Green Hub
Don’t dump your old computers, mobile phones, batteries or electronics… bring them into the Green Hub to be recycled.
Cell phones and computers are free (monitors are free providing you bring in a hard drive at the same time). A small donation is appreciated. Monitors by themselves are $10, TV’s $25 and home printers are $5.
Drop them off at 235 Main Street, Palmerston North (next to the Red Cross) on Monday – Friday 9am to 5pm or Saturday 9.30am – 4pm. To find out more phone 06-355-8105.
Take the field to the forest with Living Legends
Once again Living Legends will host 17 planting events across New Zealand to commemorate New Zealand’s hosting of the Rugby World Cup. Our final target is to plant 170,000 before the end of 2015.
The Manawatu planting for 2012 will again take place in the Manawatu Gorge at the Ferry Reserve near to Woodville on Saturday 1st September 2012; commencing at 9am. We’ve got 2,530 trees to get into the ground in a couple of hours. Visit www.livinglegends.co.nz to read more details and register for this planting.
Homes for Kaimanawa horses
A group of horses mustered in 2010
The number wild horses grazing on Kaimanawa tussock-lands is nearly duoble the recommended herd of 300. This means around 180 will need to be removed from the area this year to ensure the eco-system and the horses remain healthy.
If you wish to provide a home for one of these horses, you will need to register your interest with Simone at Kaimanawa Heritage Horses; on phone 09-4316111, or Pauline Kenney at the Kaimanawa Wild Horse Preservation Society on 07-8836708.
Each group charges a standard fee and use similar criteria to assess each applicant. In general you will be required to prove that you have suitable land and facilities to manage horses and have no history of animal abuse.
Habitat restoration group formed
Called together by Tangimoana locals Chrissy Paul, Paerau Corneal and Hilary Robson, a group of interested people have joined forces to restore two Tangimoana sites suitable for inanga habitat.
Inanga are one of five species of native fish that make up the whitebait catch. Group members include whitebaiters, Tangimoana locals, tangata whenua, conservationists and representatives from LandCare Trust, Horizons Regional Council, the Department of Conservation.
Two meetings of this group have been held so far, one on 6 March and one on 9 May. All attendees had something to contribute and the feeling was very positive. One of the items discussed was a name for the group. Dennis Emery of Taiao Raukawa Environmental Trust suggested the name Tawhirihoe be included as it has historic associations with the area. The proposed name is Tawhirihoe Habitat Restoration.
Several potential sites for restoration have been discussed, including Stick Creek, Ellison Reserve and the Rangitikei River estuary.
Some initial actions were agreed upon, and informal sub-groups were created to tackle some of these tasks. Seeds of the local endangered plant Carex litorosa and of saltmarsh ribbonwood have been collected and sown, some by the children of Tangimoana School. Plans have been laid to divide flax plants and transplant suitable seedlings. Old carpet from Tangimoana School will be used to suppress weeds in the areas where riparian planting will be carried out.
A search for whitebait spawning activity took place during the Spring tides in early April. Unfortunately, the water at that time was very muddy and no spawning activity was seen. However, one member reported catching kahawai chasing small prey that he thought would have been whitebait. Sites where spawning activity is identified will be a focus for restoration work to ensure that the eggs remain in humid, cool and safe conditions for up to 6 weeks.
If you’d like to be part of this group, contact Hilary Robson on 06-3248378 or Chrissy Paul on 06-3554624.
Communities protecting our Ruahine whio
Community predator control projects help to protect these Ruahine whio
The Manawatu branch of the New Zealand Deerstalkers Association (NZDA) put in a successful application to the Horizons Regional Council community grant fund to purchase some self-setting stoat traps to extend protection of Ruahine whio to the Pohangina River. These traps, produced by New Zealand company Goodnature, are capable of up to 15 kills before they have to be re-set. The traps have been set out by a group of volunteers from the Palmerston North Tramping and Mountaineering Club - thanks heaps!
Oroua whio update
We’d like to say a huge thanks to volunteer coordinator Janet Wilson, and to everybody else who helps out with this project.
Janet has been in the role for about six months now, and is doing a stellar job. She has re-organised the traps so they are more accesible, coordinates several volunteer groups to ensure all of the traps are checked each month, and keeps everyone informed and enthusiastic. During this time, a total of 32 stoats and 196 rats, 1 blackbird, 1 small possum and 1 unidentified corpse have been removed from the traps.
March checks were carried out by Peter Darragh (PNTMC), Nathan Lightbourne, Warren Wheeler (PNTMC), Graham Peters (PNTMC), Steve and Mary Beilski, and new volunteers Shanelle Clarke, Jen James and Thierry Stokkermans, who went on a training trip with Janet.
In April, Janet and Graham Peters cleared all of the river traps, taking new volunteer Geoff Lord for a training trip around the lower river circuit. The rest of the traps were checked by Craig and Mike Allerby from PNTMC and Manawatu Deerstalker Paul Dekker.
Janet says the river is starting to get cold and shady now, but she hopes to get those traps checked one more time before winter. She is running another training day on 27 May, and plans to have a roster system running from Spring onwards. If you want to get involved, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nature Space - officially launched on 26 April - is a great tool for community groups involved in ecological restoration projects. It is essentially a web portal that provides a “one-stop-shop” to access/share resources.
Supported by the Department of Conservation, Queen Elizabeth II National Trust, and local government agencies of the lower North Island, Nature Space is a great way to network and let people know what you’ve achieved. There are currently 56 member groups, but only one from the Manawatu Rangitikei area. If you are currently involved in a community restoration project or you want to be, check out Nature Space.
Tools & training for community groups
Participants of a DOC field skills course learning techniques for 5-minute bird counts
If you are involved in a community group and would like some tools or advice on fundraising, sponsorship, marketing or volunteering, check out www.exult.co.nz. Exult is a New Zealand training provider offering “practical resources for community groups”. They specialise in the business end of running a non-profit organisation.
DOC also offers a range of courses that are available to volunteers and community groups.
- Online courses are free and can be done by anyone, anytime. They include ‘Bird identification’ and ‘Field skills’.
- Field-based courses have associated costs and are held at set times and locations. They include ‘Plant identification’ and ‘Animal pest control methods’.
Visit the Get Trained page on www.doc.govt.nz to find out more.
Triangle Hut makeover
Volunteers from the Rangitikei Tramping Club helped paint Triangle Hut in March. Their assistance and good company was very much appreciated.
If you are part of a club or have a group of mates who would be keen to help with hut or track maintenace, contact Duncan Toogood - phone 06-3509719 or email email@example.com.
Place to visit: Parks Peak Hut
Parks Peak is a neat little hut on the eastern side of the Ruahine Forest Park. It sleeps six, and is nestled on the top of Parks Peak ridge in the Ruahine range.
You can access Parks Peak from Mangleton Roadend (3.5 hrs). This track provides direct but steep access to the top of the range. After passing through manuka and kanuka it breaks out onto open rocky knolls providing excellent viewpoints. Continuing uphill through beech forest for another 1.5 hours will bring you to meet with the track which leads along the top of the range. From here, follow the track south to Park’s Peak Hut (40-50 minutes).
Alternatively, you can start from Wakarara Roadend (4-5 hrs). Although this is a long arduous ridge track, you are rewarded with extensive views along the way. In the stunted beech forest black and white breasted tomtits and flocks of whiteheads can be seen.
Thank you very much for your kind donations
DOC has installed ‘iron rangers’ at some of our higher-use sites to provide a means for visitors to show their appreciation for the facilities through donations.
The secure receptacles are installed at the Manawatu Gorge Scenic Reserve, Rangiwahia hut track, Sunrise hut track, and the Oroua road-end.
We have been pleasantly surprised by the generosity of visitors. To date, the Oroua iron ranger has been most profitable with $174 retrieved in May.
Collections from these iron rangers are one of the tools DOC can use to measure visitor satisfaction, so if you enjoy the facilities at one of these places and you have some loose change, don’t leave it in your vehicle - keep it safe by putting it in an iron ranger.