Please take a moment to read the notice below, there has been some concern over recent incidents involving dogs on the Wharekawa wildlife reserve, on the sand spit at the mouth of the estuary.
A Community Invitation to all
Proposed Defibrillator Training June 2nd 2019
Opoutere now has a cardiac defibrillator installed at Elizabeth Savage’s section, 301 Opoutere Rd. It is housed an easily recognisable rectangular red metal box (approx. 30 x 50 x 12cm in size) that has a white heart on the front.
Thanks to Neil Graham for organising the defibrillator, supported by ORRA, to the Onemana Fire Brigade lead by Jo Adams, Chief Fire Officer who generously donated the box to house the defibrillator and to Liz Savage for allowing her property to be the recognised accessible site for the device.
Jo Adams (FENZ,) is very keen to get a wider group of locals trained as soon as possible in how to use the Defibrillator and in CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation), through a St Johns accredited trainer. While we do have a number of people with the needed skills currently, we need to extend the number to guarantee better coverage of our community if people are away/ busy.
Defibrillator and CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) Training by Felix from St Johns is proposed:
Date: Sunday June 2, 2019
Time: 10.00 a.m.- 12 .00 noon
Place: Tawa Tawa Lodge, 82 Opoutere Road
Cost Koha- Gold coin donation for St Johns
Jo Adams needs to know asap if this training opportunity has sufficient support to run this weekend. Also numbers may need to be limited depending on the response.
Names and numbers need to be confirmed with me by Friday 31st at 12 noon
EASTER SATURDAY WORKING BEE
Join the gang in the Spit Forest to help clear kahili ginger. Thousands of square meters of this vigorous weed have been cleared over the last couple of years – come and see the difference that has been made while helping us to clean up the little seedlings and odd patches that we have yet to clear.
When? Easter Saturday 9-11am
Where? Logan’s track – off Madeleine’s track. Look for the cones on the main beach track from the carpark and turn right. Walk Madeleine’s track until you see another safety cone turn left – that is Logan’s track. Walk 200 meters along that track and you will find us. (Call Chris if you are confused, ph 021 418 119.)
Bring: closed shoes, garden gloves, sunhat, water and bug spray.
HOT CROSS BUNS AFTERWARDS!
IT’S A MEGAMAST YEAR! (OK. BUT WHAT DOES THAT MEAN…?)
The word is out – 2019 is going to be a “megamast’ year. Forest & Bird explain this very well:
“In a ‘mast’ year, trees experience extremely heavy flowering, fruiting and seeding. Historically this would trigger an abundance of food for native wildlife to make up for lean years. But now mast events boost rodent numbers, and in turn stoat numbers. When the seed or fruit is gone, the plague of predators turn to our native birds, bats, lizards and insects. Depending on your forest type, the real crunch moment is when the fruit rots or the seed germinates, and suddenly a plethora of rats are very hungry!
This year has been labelled a ‘megamast’ because both beech and podocarp forests are masting at the same time across most of the country. It also follows a heavy fruiting of broadleaf species, which has fuelled a summer abundance of birds, but also of rats.”
What can we do?
FINAL DOTTEREL COUNT FOR 2018-2019 BREEDING SEASON
Here is a summary of the season as provided by Glenda Betts:
Ohui 7 NZD fledged, Wharekawa sandpit and mid-beach 9 NZD fledged = total 16 NZD fledged
NB: Fledgling time depends on how much food the chicks get. More disturbance = slower growth rate of chicks. 28 days for egg to hatch + 28-30 days for chick to fledge
The final 4 chicks hatched late-January and early-february – took 6 & 7 weeks to fledge.
BRUCE’S BAY BRIDGE
Thanks to Chips Jones for replacing rotten wood, repairing the bridge’s sub-structure and finishing the job with a brand new coat of yellow paint. The causeway is looking wonderful after some epic working bees and now the little bridge itself has been given the VIP treatment. Thanks to everyone who has been involved in this project.
A WORD FROM THE FIRE CHIEF
Thanks to Jo Adams and the team at the Onemana Rural Fire Force for keeping an eye on Opoutere during the recent dry months. It has been fantastic to see the big, yellow unimog patrolling the area and keeping us all safe.
Jo has a message for Opoutere: Even though the summer fire ban period has ended the surrounding forests are still very dry and a fire risk. Please take care and don’t hesitate to call 111 if you have any concerns about a fire in the open.
DRIVE SAFELY EVERYONE, HAPPY EASTER!
As autumn marches across the landscape it’s a good time to reflect on summer’s happenings.
We have enjoyed fantastic conditions for losing ourselves in the natural world of Opoutere , with record high temperatures and long, settled weather patterns. By February the water tankers were plying their trade in the village as domestic reserves ran low, mercifully late-March has seen welcome rain filling the tanks and reviving the soil.
ORRA APPRECIATES YOU!
Thanks to everyone who:
ORRA would also like to publicly acknowledge:
BIRD LIFE SUCCESS
ORRA’s predator control work, spearheaded by Chris Woudenberg, has contributed to a very successful breeding season for the banded rail population. They are often seen dashing across the road as if in a blind panic (insouciance is not their style) and are notoriously shy. You may hear their distinctive call in the wetlands and around the estuarine shoreline. The Wharekawa Catchment Care Group (in conjunction with Waikato Regional Council) has been busy setting up traplines in the Kapakapa wetlands area, which will further protect the banded rail community in that part of the village.
Over the summer months a family with chicks were frequently spotted in the mangroves by the beach carpark footbridge, one was captured in the photo below.
Hats off to Glenda Betts who took on the job of DOC’s Dotterel Ranger for Opoutere this season. Glenda has worked tirelessly alongside DOC Ranger Frouk Miller to tally up eggs, chicks and fledglings and protect nesting sites. While protecting dotterel nests on the Wharekawa Spit one day they experienced abusive behaviour from some members of the public and ORRA would like to acknowledge the important job they did and express our sadness that this sort of event happened while people were protecting an endangered species.
A summary of the dotterel breeding season will be published in the Easter update on these pages.
While the sun shone during the busy holiday period much work was done by volunteers at well-attended working bees.
Weed Removal in the Beach Reserve Forest
During late-December and early-January teams of people worked to remove kahili ginger in the beach forest. The difference is amazing.
However, while the native understory is thriving in the newly liberated terrain, dormant ginger seeds are still rising like tiny, green zombies out of the soil! Thankfully, the forest provides a lovely work environment so the prospect of regular ginger sessions is surprisingly appealing. There are always interesting people to chat with as you crawl about in the undergrowth pulling out ginger. An added bonus is that the emerging carpet of native plant seedlings is a magical sight to see.
Keep an eye on the bus shelter for working bee notices.
Thanks to Chris Woudenberg for his determination in tackling plant pests (not just ginger but also barberry, ink weed, privet, cotoneaster, pampas…the list goes on) – he has methodically mapped the areas needing work, organised the materials required, and rallied the troops.
Bruce’s Bay Causeway Repairs
At the ORRA AGM in January concerns were raised about the deterioration of the little stone walkway that crosses Bruce’s Bay. This causeway provides safe passage for pedestrians who would otherwise be navigating a very tight corner on a busy road with little to no footpath. It was originally constructed (under a veil of anonymity and largely solo) by Bruce Collier, a resident whose name attaches to this little cove due to his herculean efforts to transform it into a pleasant corner of the village. Bruce now resides at the Booms Care Home in Thames.
ORRA committee members Stuart Farmer and Keryn Kliskey teamed up with Peter Le Heron and organised working bees to lay new foundations for the bridge, reinforce the causeway and repair the wooden rails on the bridge. Rocks and builders’ mix were donated, Peter provided a concrete mixer, many barrows of heavy cement and rocks were hauled about, morning teas were provided by Angela Peters and everyone went home tired and perfumed by the mud of Bruce’s Bay!
Thanks to all the strong arms, legs and backs that tackled this tough job and to Angela Peters for the wonderful photos and refreshments.
Enjoy the lovely autumn days, the next update will be at Easter.
The pohutukawa are in flower, the dotterel chicks are hatching and our village is about to fill up with bach visitors and campers!
Here are a few important dates for your diary:
The Opoutere Regatta – Saturday December 29 2pm
Opoutere’s annual regatta – with swimming and kayak races for young and old.
Start time is 2pm and there will be prize giving and a bbq across the road in the Michael King Reserve. (Bring $$ for the bbq!)
Everyone is welcome.
Opoutere Ratepayers & Residents Association AGM – Wednesday January 2nd 9.30am
Come along to see what the association has been working on this year and make sure that your subs are up to date so you can vote (an agenda will be posted on the bus shelter)! You can also join the association if you are not already a member.
The meeting will be held in the Opoutere School hall.
Dotterel Watch – low tides between Xmas and early NY 2019
Please sign up for a shift on the Wharekawa Spit at low tide to help protect the dotterel’s access to food at low tide. See the bus shelter for the roster.
Summer Holiday Working Bees
Ginger Clean-up (no loud machines) December 22 9-11am: We are taking care of little ginger seedlings that have sprung up since our last major working bee in the forest. Walk through the forest towards the yellow bench beach entrance, look for the orange cones and follow that forest trail for a couple of hundred meters – you can’t miss us.
PROVISIONAL DATES: Thursday December 27 + Monday December 31st
WHAT: Ginger cutting and pasting
WHEN: Saturday 14 July 2018
9am – 11am
Another one of our lovely working bees, this one is perfect for the whole family as it’s smack-bang in the middle of the school holidays.
WHERE: Walk out towards the beach from the bridge, turn right at the cones, walk under the fallen pine along the outer beach track, heading south until you see some more cones. then turn right and follow the rope. There you will find us.
BRING: Garden tools for cutting, safety gear (gloves, glasses, ear muffs if you have them, sturdy boots).
WHY? Kahili ginger is an invasive pest plant that smothers young plants and prevents native seedlings from growing. It poses a significant threat to native ecosystems.
Got ginger on your land? Please support all the hard work done by our community working bees by removing it. Check out www.weedbusters.org.nz. As landowners we are all responsible for the removal of ginger from our sections,click here to find out more from Waikato Regional Council.
What a great community we have.
Thanks for turning up to working bees, signing up to the Dotterel Watch roster, paying your subs, picking up rubbish, digging out ginger in your garden, putting a rat trap on your section, attending the world-famous regatta, attending the AGM, giving lost tourists directions, keeping an eye on the fire risk…and just being a terrific bunch of people.
This is what makes Opoutere OPOUTERE.
Please accept your association’s appreciation for your help and involvement over the summer.
(See you at a working bee over the autumn and winter months, we may put on a bbq to tempt you away from your fireside chair!)