September 2020 Spring Newsletter
Spring is undoubtedly here! The Park is a hive of activity with birds feeding on the fresh blossom, new native trees dotting the landscape, and track installation in progress in the recently harvested areas as well as on the new land. Looking back, it’s been a busy winter in the Park. 15,000 native trees were planted, the Rongoā garden is quickly evolving, and a partnership with Enviroschools is assisting the Park in growing its education programmes.
With the forestry work finished, all previously closed tracks are now open, and the tracks on the new land will be open for summer adventures by Christmas. Please do not attempt to access the land at this stage as we have various contractors on site with heavy machinery, and it is not yet safe for public use.
Well done to everyone who has given their time, resources, and energy to create new native forests and new places to play in Te Mata Park.
Wishing everyone a wonderful spring!
-The Te Mata Park Trust Board
Growing Rongoā with Te Aratika Academy and Local Community
With the leadership of Rongoā expert Tyne-Marie Nelson and our Project Manager, Guy Morris (pictured in yellow), the Rongoā garden near the main gates car park is truly taking shape. Prior to the community planting day in early August, the students
from Te Aratika Academy cleared the land in preparation. It was really hard work, and they put in a huge effort.
For the planting of the Rongoā garden, it was a very wet August day, and still over
35 people turned up to brave the wet weather. We started the morning with a karakia, led by Jerry Hapuku, and finished with gourmet sausages from Clive Butchery and kawakawa tea.
The Rongoā garden is an important and evolving project, and we are seeking volunteers to meet monthly and work in the garden, caring for the plants and learning about Rongoā.
Park User Reminders:
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.
Educational Advancements in Te Mata Park
Te Mata Park was pleased to welcome Te Aratika Academy, Haumoana School, and Iona College into the Park in recent weeks to assist with various projects as well as for learning opportunities. We’re growing the educational experiences at Te Mata Park in many ways, and we’re grateful for the schools who have been so keen to engage with all the Park has to offer.
We’ve also formed a partnership with the incredible national environmental action organisation, Enviroschools. This partnership came about as a desire to bring more educational opportunities to the park. Fortunately for us, Enviroschools was also keen to bring their expertise on the environment, long-term sustainability, and empowerment of young people to the experience. We are so pleased to now be working together
with them as they help us to develop and support our new programme, and recently we welcomed our first school group from Haumoana School.
Tamariki from Haumoana School (pictured) were incredibly engaged with their experience: they planted flaxes with Mike Lusk, explored the Little Redwoods, hunted for fossils and insects, used their senses to engage with the natural world around them, and learned about plants, birds, conservation, culture, and history of the park. It was an incredible day with many happy and enriched children playing and learning in the forest.
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 Sara Shaw if you or your school would like to get involved.
WORDS FROM MIKE LUSK (our resident plant expert and caretaker for over 20 years) :
After a very busy preparation/planting season the 15,000 new natives are getting their roots down and
will, we hope receive timely spring rains so they’ll be well able to cope with whatever summer brings. Certainly a few that I’ve needed to shift look good both above and below the ground.
Planting in Te Mata park requires much thought, and the range chosen has been restricted to those that cope with full sun, strong winds and a dry summer. Those that rabbits eat, and most others too, have been protected with cleverly designed cardboard surrounds, and all with a square hemp pad. Mulch from the chewed up pine debris will be added shortly and the need for careful weed spraying will soon be evident. Watering is not feasible except in a few small areas.We expect too that some of the natives shattered in the felling will sprout new growth and with large established root systems, should grow quickly.
When not in the newly cleared areas look out for kereru in the tree lucerne, and be entertained by all the other birds boasting and defending territories. Much as we enjoy it, they are not singing for our pleasure. Translations of the lyrics might well be quite indelicate. – Mike Lusk
THANK YOU for your ongoing support of Te Mata Park.Please do contact our Park Manager Emma Buttle if you have any questions or concerns.