We’ve had a stellar planting season this winter with many successful planting days. Our community of volunteers and donors have been hugely supportive: thank you to all of you who contribute. Te Mata is fortunate to have such passionate people, schools, families, and businesses assisting with the native revegetation of our beautiful maunga. This year, 24,000 plants have been planted across Te Kahika, the Tauroa Forest, and our Rongoā Garden, which is no small effort!
To encourage as much native biodiversity as possible and ensure high survival rates, we’re planting quite a variety of species including harakeke, karamu, manuka, kanuka, carex, pimelea mimosa, cabbage tree, toetoe, mingimingi, koromiko, and kowhai, to name a few.
With nearly 40,000 new plants in the ground over the past two years, and an additional 20,000 to be planted in 2022, the planting programme is already a huge success. Read on to learn more about community engagement and upcoming events.
Wishing you a warm winter season,
The Te Mata Park Trust Board
Creating New Native Forests
As we look ahead to 2022 and the final year of our planting programme, we’d love you to join us in supporting more planting projects than ever before. Every single $10 native tree you gift or donate has a huge role to play in the future of Aotearoa. Thank you.
Te Mata Park Kaitiaki Project: Schools for Trees
Te Mata Park’s 2019 One Giant Chance Campaign asked the community to raise $1.25 million to purchase land for sale near the park. Together, hundreds of individuals, families, businesses, and charitable trusts of New Zealand contributed to the purchase of a large block of land adjacent to Te Mata Park, growing the park by 8.5 hectares. This land, named Te Kahika by mana whenua, has been open to the public for seven months with new trails for walking and biking as well as Tamariki Ako, a kid’s bike track for the younger riders. There have also been extensive plantings to revegetate Te Kahika with native plants and trees.
With kaitiakatanga in mind, the Te Mata Park Trust Board created the Schools for Trees Kaitiaki Project. This initiative asked a number of local schools to ‘adopt’ a small block in Te Kahika, plant native trees, and then continue to care for it by weed releasing, watering, and adding more plant species in future. There is no cost to the school; it is a way for schools to become kaitiaki of their maunga and continue engagement with Te Mata Park beyond the public planting events by providing them with their own section to plant out and care for as a lifetime project.
The schools responded to this project with enthusiasm, and five Havelock North schools have adopted blocks of land to care for. Havelock North Primary School, Lucknow School, Te Mata School, Havelock North Intermediate, and Havelock North High School will plant trees annually and visit their section every couple of months to care for their trees and enjoy the green space they are building as a community.
This project has inspired schools to engage in different ways. Te Mata School has formed a Kaitiaki Club which includes the families of children across year levels. They are also adding to a kowhai grove annually with kowhai trees that are gifted to the Year 5 students by the Year 6 students at the end of each year. Havelock North High School has a Year 10 environment group that will take on the leadership of their block annually, and Havelock North Intermediate will include their William Pike Challenge students as caretakers each year.
The school planting areas surround a large flat area near Tamariki Ako that will be used for school sessions, picnics, and gatherings in the future. As this area grows and the schools continue with the project, we hope the children’s experience of guardianship and sustainability will grow alongside it, creating lifelong conservationists who care for the land around them.
Refreshed Walking Tracks and Improved Te Ihu
Thanks to our track teams for all your hard work this winter. The access track on the purple/blue walking tracks which leads from Chambers Walk up to the plateau has been graded for safety and accessibility, thanks to Dave Gordon of Baywide Dingos (pictured first). In that same area, our caretakers Alex Tuffin and Alex Clare have also been working hard to bring the old rim track off the blue track back to life. After a bit of a hiatus, park users are pleased to be able to use this track once again.
Thanks also goes to track builder Paul Needham for his work on MTB track, Te Ihu (Trench Track, part of Te Ihu, pictured second). This newly improved track now boasts better drainage, easier lines, less ruts, and is riding better then ever. Te Ihu is a grade 4, but with the improvements, it’s not as sketchy as it was previously. If you haven’t ridden Te Ihu lately, check it out this weekend!
Upcoming Volunteer Opportunities:
Sunday 8th August 9am-12pm– Management of the new plantings, adding mats and guards, and mulching young plants to ensure survival. Meet in the Main Gates Car Park.
Sunday 29th August 9am-12pm– Rongoā Garden working bee, meet in the Rongoā Garden
Join us for a working bee in August!
Please let us know of your attendance by sending a message to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Park is nothing if not for our volunteers. Thank you to each of you for giving back to our beautiful Park.
Park Pest Control
Te Mata Park is interested in recruiting some volunteers for our pest control programme, which will make a huge difference in protecting our birdlife and invertebrates. The role will involve helping us to check our box traps as well as advise of any catches, ideally once a week. All traps will be close to walking tracks, but not highly visible, and there will be 24 traps in the park in total.
Fitness is required, and training will be provided. This would be a great volunteer role for those who walk the park regularly.
Contact Park Manager Emma Buttle to become part of our pest control crew: email@example.com
WORDS FROM MIKE LUSK (our resident plant expert and caretaker for over 20 years) :
Weed Control – Winter 2021
The planting has progressed very well as is evident by all the sticks and cardboard protections in both the Tauroa and Te Kahika blocks. As expected there are many weeds too, notably in the Tauroa area where the large pines have been collecting seed, but suppressing germination for many years. By contrast, in the Te Kahika block which was mainly grasses, there is nowhere near such a problem. By and large, grass is our friend in the planted areas.
Getting trees in the ground is the glamour part of revegetation, but there is no point in doing it without continuing care, especially weed control which is crucial in the first few seasons. Once the trees are big enough to cast shade, the weeds will nearly all become less of a problem and most will disappear.
Weed control is now underway with the first effort targeting blackberry, which will climb into small trees and grow up with them. Thousands of pine seedlings have been removed in the Tauroa block, mainly by hand pulling, and this will need to continue for a few years. Next in line is pink ragwort, a very rapidly growing pink daisy which flowers profusely in spring, looking very beautiful as it does. It produces vast numbers of windborne seeds, which seem to be able to last in dormancy for many years. Much of the vigorous green growth seen in the Tauroa block now is in fact this daisy, and plans are being made to tackle it very soon. If you are confident you can recognise it (pictured below), please pull out small plants you see. – Mike Lusk
- 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.