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.
Autumn has arrived, the days are getting shorter and cooling down. These changes in the season always herald the Easter period and the first set of school holidays for our Opoutere family. Easter runs from Friday April 3 through to Monday April 6, the school holidays run until mid April.
It’s a great time to catch up with people that you haven’t seen since the summer holidays and to get on top of a few jobs before winter creeps in (who doesn’t love clearing guttering…?).
While there is a good group of people around it’s a popular time to get some community involvement on some important issues as well. On Easter Saturday the Opoutere Community Hall Society are having a second attempt at their AGM. A quorum couldn’t be achieved for the first AGM in February so they are trying again. If you have an interest in the Hall please attend this meeting to make your views known and participate in the election of the new committee.
**WORKING BEE DATE CHANGE**WORKING BEE DATE CHANGE**WORKING BEE DATE CHANGE**
There is also another amazing, slashing, shredding Weedbusting Working Bee amongst the elaeagnus behind the Opoutere YHA.
We are making great progress against the elaeagnus and uncovering some wonderful coastal broadleaf forest in the process. To support the Hall society’s AGM and allow Saturday’s keen cricketers to attend the working bee we are rescheduling our working bee from Saturday to Easter Sunday 2pm.
We will meet at the cemetery paddock just beyond the YHA and its neighbouring houses, drive up the gravel driveway and park by the far fence in the paddock and you’ll hear a chainsaw or two in action.
When: Easter SUNDAY, 2pm-4.30
Where: Up the gravel driveway by the cemetery just beyond the YHA on Opoutere Rd
Parking: The landowners have very kindly allowed us to park our vehicles and bicycles in the paddock. This allows us much safer access to the areas of elaeagnus that we have reached in past Working Bees.
Bring: Sturdy boots, long pants and top, gloves, safety glasses, ear muffs, hand saws, loppers, chainsaws and petrol, hedge trimmers and a good sense of humour.
For those of who are in the grip of cricket fever (this phenomenon was a mystery to some of us until NZ vs SA) you may be interested in the Annual Village v. Beachboys Opoutere cricket game, to be held at Graham Oval, Easter Saturday 4.4.15, starting @ 2pm.
Here is the official announcement from Neil Graham:
“There is a quiet confidence for another huge win for the Beachboys, who are defending the title they won comfortably last year.
I have given the pitch its first serious mow last weekend, in preparation for the event.
With the dry, hot summer predicted to continue for some weeks, it’s likely that the outfield will be fast (for those who prefer to do their scoring in increments of 4).
The trophy has had the traditional addition made.
So, we’re all set for another exciting game.”
Not to be dismissed as just a casual game of cricket between friends and neighbours, this is serious business. Opoutere’s bravest will be donning whites and taking their performance enhancing drugs (hot cross buns) before entering the fray. Good luck to all, may the best team win.
So mark these events on your calendars, it’s going to be a busy time!
The Opoutere Community Hall Society is holding a very important AGM on Saturday February 28th at 10.30am.
Please come along if you are able, the Hall society is looking forward to electing some new committee members and to have a conversation about how the Hall is run. The meeting needs a quorum of 12 and a committee of 6, there are 68 members of the Hall Society so a good turn-out is anticipated!
Here is the official notification of the AGM:
Last Saturday there was a terrific turnout to our late-notice working bee in the elaeagnus behind the Youth Hostel. We continued to cut a path through the elaeagnus and managed to free up an ancient pohutukawa that was rapidly being colonised by the weed.
More than 20 people showed up and gave us two good hours of their holiday weekend, thanks to all who came along. Thanks also to Amelia Williams who donated a big box of treats for morning tea, the workers were very grateful for their fresh fruit and chocolate biscuits. The grazing continued after the working bee with a social get together (with beer and sausages) on a local deck!
There is still so much to do but with regular weedbusting working bees we will get the problem under control, we hope to start replanting some cleared areas with baby natives during the winter.
Chris has sent out another call to arms for this coming Saturday (February 14th), it’s Valentine’s Day so show some love for the Opoutere bush and come along from 9am- 12 noon armed with loppers, chainsaw, safety glasses, gloves, ear muffs and sturdy clothing and footwear. Have a look at Chris’ Working Bee Checklist-2 .
The patch of elaeagnus that we are targeting at the moment can best be reached by entering the marked “Nature Trail” that starts just inside the gates of the Opoutere YHA. Follow the trail until you hear Chris’ chainsaw and then head uphill, keep your eyes peeled for some red tape or other such marker.
Please avoid parking in the YHA grounds as this is a busy time of the year for them and they need the parking for their guests, we can park on the side of the road a bit further along from the hostel grounds.
That elaeagnus in the bush behind the YHA has been on our minds, so we have decided to have a little go at it this Saturday, February 7. We will be there between 10am and noon so it’s not a marathon effort, just another nudge at it. If you are terribly keen and would like to stay up there longer, that’s fine, too!
Please bring: tools (loppers, chainsaw if possible, secateurs, hand saws) safety glasses, earmuffs, good gloves, a big smile
Wear: long sleeved shirts, long pants, sturdy boots
Park: along Opoutere Rd a bit from the YHA, they are full this weekend so please no parking on their grounds
We would love to see you, just follow the Nature Trail that winds up into the bush behind the YHA, look out for some red ribbon on a tree and listen out for our chainsaws! If you are not able to help feel free to pop along for a look at what we are trying to achieve as we free up some beautiful native bush from the smothering effects of the elaeagnus.
Any questions call Chris on 021 418 119
Tsunami Information Open Day – Sunday
Sun, 25 January 2015
10:00 am – 03:00 pm
Venue: Thames Coromandel District Council Office, 620 Port Rd, Whangamata
The open days provide you with an opportunity to learn more about what we understand to be the Tsunami threat to the settlements of Whangamata. The Coastal and Tsunami scientists that have worked on this project will be in attendance at the open days to provide the opportunity for you to talk with them directly.
The open days are also an invitation to you to make comment on what you think should be the approach to managing the tsunami risk.
We want to know what you think about such things as;
The emergency management procedures that should be adopted
The community education approach that should be undertaken
What you think about coastal land use planning such as restricting the location of facilities such as kindergartens or rest-homes being built in potential tsunami inundation paths.
For more information about this project and the Eastern Coromandel Tsunami Strategy visit the WhangamataTsunami Project page.
Or have a look directly at the Eastern Coromandel Tsunami Stategy
OPOUTERE IS NOT IDENTIFIED IN THIS PLAN, PLEASE ATTEND IF YOU CAN AND ENSURE OPOUTERE IS INCLUDED.
Today a hearty bunch of about 30 people showed up in the bush behind the YHA for the first Weedbusting Working Bee of 2015.
After several hours of chainsawing and chopping, the blanket of elaeagnus has been significantly knocked back. In the process we have discovered wonderful trees and rock formations and the sun is hitting the forest floor for the first time in years. Speaking of hitting the forest floor, some of us lost our footing on the uneven terrain but luckily only one of us had an idling chainsaw in our hands at the time. This kind of weedbusting is not really for the fainthearted. Afterwards we gathered on a nearby deck for hot sausages (cooked by those who slept in…) and cold beer.
Chris Woudenberg spearheaded the working bee and has a personal mission to clear the elaeagnus from the forest. He has used a GPS unit to calculate the area of the infestation at an alarming 5000m2. This a huge challenge but with a concerted community effort we will get rid of the elaeagnus.
Today’s working bee cleared 600m2, no mean feat when you realise how tough and thorny the elaeagnus is.
A much smaller working bee had cleared 100m2 at Easter 2014. We are gradually rescuing a wonderful area in the forest, it’s exciting to see the trees liberated from the weed and to imagine all the seedlings that can now take root.
We will be holding regular working bees throughout the year, keep an eye out for notices. We can guarantee good company, a free workout and a cheerful gathering at the end!
Thank you to everyone who gave up a few hours of their holiday time to help us in the forest.