Easter was action-packed! The Hall Society elected a new committee after a well-attended AGM, the Beach Boys won the cricket, elaeagnus got chopped down, new babies appeared, the jetty was jumped off, ORRA celebrated some successful fundraising results and we enjoyed spectacularly still autumn weather.
Working Bee Progress
The Easter 2015 Weedbusting Working Bee was attended by 40 people, a fantastic turnout, we love you all. With a new brush cutter and several chainsaws roaring, people scrambling underneath huge elaeagnus trees and a small army chopping away with loppers we cleared just under 1000m2 in 2.5 hours. We had new tools and a box of poison paste (courtesy of a Department of Conservation grant) and lots of safety gear for everyone.
Looking at a photograph it’s hard to really appreciate the impact that our working bees are making in the forest behind the YHA. If you are sure-footed it is well worth the effort of diverting uphill from the YHA Nature Walk. Clamber over some loose boulders, negotiate the old boundary fence and then marvel at the lovely coastal broadleaf forest that surrounds the base of Maungaruawahine. Increasingly free of the elaeagnus that threatens to smother it the forest now has the chance to regenerate, thanks to the blood, sweat and tears (of joy..!) of our Weedbusting Working Bee volunteers.
Keep your eyes peeled for the next chance to get involved, we hope to hold regular working bees over the coming months and will share details on this website and in notices distributed about the village. You can also contact us on our Get Involved page.
ORRA would like to acknowledge the generous grants awarded by the Department of Conservation and Waikato Regional Council to help us continue our work in animal pest and weed control in the Opoutere area.
In March the Department of Conservation allocated $4000 from its Waikato Community Conservation Fund to ORRA to purchase tools, poison and safety gear to be used when clearing elaeagnus, a very invasive climbing plant that has become established in the coastal broadleaf forest between the YHA and the Maungaruawahine summit.
In April Waikato Regional Council granted $4,590.16 from its Small Scale Community Initiatives Fund for the purchase of Goodnature possum traps to protect the forest which will regenerate as we clear the elaeagnus and employ local contractors to remove some elaeagnus that is growing in high areas not safely accessed by working bee volunteers.
We have committed to a long-term programme of cutting the plants, pasting the stumps and chopping the debris to form a mulch on the forest floor. Complementing this approach we hope to start actively replanting the forest floor (no seedlings can germinate under the dense canopy of elaeagnus) to prevent further weed strike in the lovely open areas.
This funding recognises the on-going efforts of our community, we would like to extend our sincere thanks to DoC and WRC for giving us the means to continue this work.
ORRA would also like to recognise the fundraising efforts of committee member Rachel Lang. Rachel designed, procured and distributed the wonderful 2015 Opoutere t-shirts. The t-shirts are almost completely sold out with only a few kids’ shirts still available. The t-shirts raised just under $2000 this summer and it’s great to see so many people wearing them. The great Opoutere t-shirt tradition lives on!
To view the latest news (including a tally of our pest victims!) from our Ecology Team visit the Pest Control page.