The Wairio Wetlands were on the list for the 200 members of the New Zealand Farm Forestry Association being hosted by the Wairarapa branch for their 55th annual conference.
Our own DU member and director, John Dermer is currently their national president. Wairarapa Farm Forestry president Stu Orme, and secretary Shane Atkinson, were thoughtful enough to write to Jim Law and thank him for hosting their field trip to Wairio:
“We would like to thank you for the effort you put in to host our field trip to the Wairio wetlands. Your restoration project directly addresses all three themes of our conference and is an outstanding example of a local initiative on a grand scale. Lake Wairarapa dominates the whole of the lower valley and the re-creation of wetlands along the degraded eastern boundary is a task with very long-term benefits. All our visitors enjoyed their trip. Thank you again.”
John Dermer said that all 200 of the NZFF conference attendees visited Wairio.
“We visited Castle Point Station in the north and down to the southern end to Prinoa Station and Waiorongomai on our last day with a look at Wairio and a talk from Jim Law.”
John said that once again he was struck by the sheer size of the Wairio Wetland although it was living up to its name, 'dry water' at the time. “Jim told us about the weed issues, mainly tall fescue, which makes getting trees established more difficult and the answers we are trying to find. One thing I noticed was how well plants are managing on the piles of soil excavated, so my main question is Why not do more? “There must be a shallow water table underneath so why aren’t we digging deeper? “What is the point of digging holes so shallow they don’t hold water?” John said there is no way he would site his maimai on this bit of dry wetland. He said he is sure the Farm Foresters were impressed, and they certainly asked lots of questions.