December 2020 Summer Newsletter
After a very big year in the Park and a recent Green Flag Top Ten international accolade, there is much for Te Mata Park to celebrate. The forestry project has come to a close, thousands of native trees have been planted and mulched, new tracks have been built in the new land, and they are now officially open and ready for summer adventures!
Though there is still work to be done in the new block including educational signage, an additional 24,000 plantings, and a water feature in the rongoā area, it is a magnificent moment to admire what has been accomplished in 2020.
Countless contributions have gone into creating this new part of Te Mata Park, and the Trust extends gratitude to each and every person and organisation involved. We hope you enjoy this exciting new place to roam!
Thank you to all those who participated in our two grand opening events on 15th December. It was exceptional to see our whānau, community supporters, donors, sponsors, and volunteers enjoying the new land for the first time.
Congratulations and thanks to everyone who has given their time, resources, and energy to create new native forests and new places to play in Te Mata Park in 2020. There will be much more to come in 2021.
Tipuna Footstep – Walk in the footsteps of our ancestors. Connecting the Main Gates to Tauroa Road, this walk, made possible through community fundraising efforts, takes you through the Rongoā Garden with spectacular lookout points and past a wahi tapu site and kōwhai grove.
Rongoā Garden – Rongoā Māori is the traditional healing system of Māori, encompassing herbal remedies, physical therapies and spiritual healing. In our Rongoā Garden, cared for by our Rongoā Rōpū, we grow medicinal and beneficial native plants, maintaining a valuable resource for the whenua of Te Matau a Māui to learn about rongoā Māori.
Te Kahika- Intermediate track, downhill
Kōwhai Climb- Intermediate track, uphill
Tamariki Ako- Easy, kid’s skills track
A $10 gift that will impact future generations
The Park Trust has ambitious plans to plant nearly 44,000 more native trees over the next 2 years, including extensive plantings in the recently opened new block of land. In the long term, this will significantly improve biodiversity, creating a beautiful habitat for native birds and a wonderful destination for all park users.
These plantings are not possible without the charitable contributions of visionary community members who see the importance of this incredible place. This holiday season, help shape the future of Te Mata Park and give the gift of native trees. To purchase native saplings, head to our donations website HERE. When you donate, you will receive an email with a link to a certificate that can be given as a gift this Christmas. A great gift for the nature lovers, hikers, bikers, walkers, and runners on your list that love the park or children who will enjoy the park for years to come.
Volunteer Mulching Days
After a busy winter planting 15,000 native trees in the Park, we worked very hard this Spring to protect them from the dry, summer days by spreading mulch around them. The Park held multiple volunteer days over the past few months, and small but passionate groups of volunteers did the hard mahi hauling mulch uphill in large buckets.
The Park is nothing if not for these volunteers. Thank you to each of you for giving back to our beautiful Park.
If you can spare some time, we could use your extra hands next year to assist with volunteer working bees, our rongoā garden, and running our annual survey.
Sign up HERE if you wish to join our wonderful team of volunteers.
Educational Update – Havelock North Kindergarten and Primary School
This past term, the Park continued working alongside our partners Enviroschools and Hawke’s Bay Regional Council to welcome tamariki from Havelock North Central Kindergarten and Havelock North Primary School to learn about their maunga and the wilderness area of Te Mata Park, the flora and fauna endemic to the Park, the Atua experienced while in the Park, and the importance of becoming kaitiaki of this land.
On the hikoi and in the redwoods, tamariki engaged in the nature classroom in many ways, identifying plants and insects, building huts out of the natural world around them, discussing environmental change and biodiversity, and working together to create a learning space reflecting sustainability and kaitiakitanga of the land.
These creative and curious young conservationists were excited by the possibilities of what they could do and demonstrated a deep understanding of the importance of preserving their natural spaces. Asthe tamariki discovered the various relationships in the forest around them, they witnessed how living things need each other to survive, and how their own relationship with the environment can also have an impact (whanaungatanga).
Both schools are acting on their learning, planning to grow plants for winter tree planting next year, and they are exploring other ways to strengthen their relationship with their maunga.We look forward to providing more nature-based education experiences to schools and community groups as our programme continues to evolve; please get in touch with us HERE if you or your school would like to get involved.
WORDS FROM MIKE LUSK (our resident plant expert and caretaker for over 20 years) :
Summer is the time to look out for native butterflies in the Park. The little blue grey one is by far the most common but yellow and red admirals are also there. The caterpillars of the red admiral (pictured first) feed on the leaves of the native stinging nettle, ongaonga which is one of the good reasons to leave it in areas where it doesn’t intrude on tracks.
But the copper butterflies, which look like miniature monarchs are more common than the admirals and can be seen collecting nectar from flowers. Their caterpillars feed on the leaves of pohuehue, which is the tangly plant scattered in the pasture and on the bank close to the Te Mata Park Road carpark. So if you glimpse a flash of orange watch the butterfly and you may well see the it settle on a dandelion nearby. In the morning they spread their wings to catch the sun but when it’s warmer they rest with their wings closed and are practically invisible.
– Mike Lusk
- SHEEP: Sheep are currently grazing in the park. Please mind your dogs.
- DOGS: Please control dogs and clean up after them. If you have a dog that can be unpredictable, please keep them on a lead.
- CAR THEFT: Please don’t leave valuables in your car when visiting the Park to discourage theft from vehicles.
- INCIDENTS: Report any incidents you see by contacting us through Facebook or notifying the police by calling 105.
THANK YOU for your ongoing support of Te Mata Park.
Please do contact us HERE if you have any questions or concerns.