The Runanga has undertaken substantial wildling pine control work within Orakei Korako/Red Hills, Tutukau Forest and along the lower Mangatoetoe Stream and Waikato River margins. The project has been ongoing since 2012.
The area where work is currently underway has high biodiversity values as well as geothermal features and covers areas along the margins of the Waikato River. Control of wildling pine and other weeds will assist in restoring and protecting these values.
This area is also of great importance to Ngati Tahu-Ngati Whaoa and is the iwi ūkaipō or birthplace. control of wildling pine will also assist in protecting and enhancing cultural values.
Work is now in its third year and the progress made to date is very visible on the landscape. Further ongoing maintenance will be required into the future.
This project is funded by the Waikato River Authority (WRA 12-047). Funding has also been provided by Waikato Catchment Ecological Enhancement Trust, Department of Conservation (Biodiversity Condition Fund) and Te Arawa River Iwi Trust
The project area was degraded land on the banks of the Waikato River which was used for rubbish dumping, had multiple weed issues and was relatively inaccessible. The area also has sites of cultural significance to Ngati Tahu-Ngati Whaoa.
This project has involved three stages of restoration with work focused on weed control, planting of natives, protection of cultural sites, providing interpretive information and increasing recreational opportunities. Final planting of the 3 hectare site will be completed in 2015.
The work has been led by the Runanga and has involved multiple agencies and stakeholders with input from the community including schools groups and others.
Funding has been provided by Waikato Catchment Ecological Enhancement Trust, Honda Tree Fund and Te Arawa River Iwi Trust. Additional support has been provided by Fonterra and Landcorp and many members of the local community.
Today, the reserve is a space for all to enjoy, rescued from its rubbish dumping past with an inspiring tale of a community coming together and making a difference.
Lake Ngapōuri is home to many native and introduced waterfowl including the threatened NZ dabchick. The lake provides fishing, gamebird hunting and other recreational opportunities. The lakebed is owned by Te Arawa Lakes Trust while the lake margin is jointly managed by the Trust and Eastern Fish and Game Council.
A network of traps have been established around the margins of Lake Ngapōuri to assist in controlling rats, stoats, weasels and ferrets around the reserve. The traps are checked regularly and are supplemented by local residents doing possum trapping. Funding was provided for the traps by Waikato Regional Council. The Runanga, with support from the local landowners have established the trap network. Keen local college students are assisting in checking traps on a regular basis.
It is hoped the biodiversity and bird numbers will improve as a result of this project.
Tutukau East Z Trust own a large block of land comprising c 2260ha of pasture, indigenous forest, exotic plantation forest, geothermal habitat and waterways including 3 streams which flow into the Waikato River. The Trust land contains part of the Tutukau Forest (686ha of the total forest area of 968ha) which is a large example of indigenous forest. The forest itself is protected by a Nga Whenua Rahui Kawenata agreement and is classified as a Significant Natural Area (SNA) and an Amenity Landscape area in the Taupō District Plan.
In 2013, the Runanga commissioned Wildlands Consultants to prepare a restoration plan for Tutukau Forest on land owned by Tutukau Z East Trust. The plan has assisted in assessing biodiversity work and priorities at the site. Funding for the preparation of this plan was provided by the Department of Conservation Biodiversity Condition Fund in 2012. Download a copy of this plan here.
In addition to the development of this plan, the remaining Dactylanthus taylorii population in the forest was surveyed in 2012 by the Runanga. Over 180 plants have been caged to protect them from possum browse and disturbance. Caging and monitoring of this population will continue in 2016.
Funding has been provided by the Department of Conservation through the Biodiversity Condition Fund in 2014 for the Dactylanthus work.