For this year’s annual conference and AGM, Ducks Unlimited members will head east to Gisborne, land of the first light.
The venue for the conference, being held on 31 July and 1 August, will be the Emerald Hotel in the heart of the city.
A treat is in store for the field trip, with Nick’s Head Station in Muriwai agreeing to let delegates and their guests visit its wetland on Saturday, 1 August. Organisers are arranging for three speakers during the wetland visit.
Nick’s Head Station is by the ocean so an alternative may be required if the weather does not allow the visit to go ahead as planned.
At this stage it is suggested to have the speakers at the Knapdale Eco Lodge if the weather is too bad.
Knapdale is somewhat protected in poor weather so it may be possible to view the wetlands there instead.
But, with Gisborne having the second highest sun hours in the country, conference organisers are hopeful DU can visit Nick’s Head Station.
One of this year’s auction items was a two-night fishing trip in the Hauraki Gulf for four people. Kees Weytmans has been there, done that, so here’s what this year’s winners can expect.
At the 2018 conference auction in Hamilton, John and Diny Dermer and Kees and Kay Weytmans won the two-night fishing trip in the Hauraki Gulf on Brian and Wendy Simmons’ 40-foot launch.
It was an all expenses paid trip; food (breakfast, lunch and dinner), private cabins, wine, beer and all the fishing gear.
Late February 2019 was the date that suited everyone and so on a Friday afternoon, we were welcomed on to the launch.
Now, I have done many things in my life (some of which have not been done by many others...) but I never been on a “boat” this size – just MARVELLOUS!
Brian and Wendy were the most hospitable hosts you could have wished for. The conversation was lively, always interesting. We came well prepared with Sea-Legs tablets but we didn’t need them. The beer and wine flowed freely and the Drambuie was on tap. Wendy can make really nice meals in a reasonably small place and we ate well.
Brian, with his all encompassing knowledge about the landscape, scenery, history and who owns which boat and which bach was an ever-entertaining host.
We visited Governor George Grey’s mansion as well as an old copper mine.
The fishing was excellent in that we caught many, many fish. And that’s what’s it about – the thrill of the catch. Unfortunately we had put most of them back due to size. But there was plenty for the next morning’s breakfast.
We like to thank Brian and Wendy for them being most generous. We had a wonderful time with them.
And Kay and I would like to express our best wishes for a speedy recovery for Brian after his fall. Only at the last conference, did we hear about his accident. We wish him well.
This year the Weytmans and the Dermers won an auction for a night at Blue Duck Lodge.
This year’s Ducks Unlimited New Zealand’s 45th conference was held at the Collegiate Motor Inn in Whanganui, with just over 50 attendees. The weather was kind and, after a bitterly cold, wet and windy Friday, turned on the sunshine in time for the field trip on Saturday, 3 August.
President Ross Cottle opened proceedings at the AGM by saying it had been a reasonably quiet year, with only three members’ wetlands being developed, however work at Wairio Wetland was going well and good progress had been made.
He paid tribute to long-time DU supporter and Wairarapa Chapter Secretary/Treasurer Joyce Brooks who passed away shortly after the previous AGM.
Treasurer John Bishop, after his traditional warm-up joke, presented his report. He confirmed and reviewed the requirements of being a charitable trust, which include providing a mission statement, entity structure and a yearly report of income, expenditure, activities and volunteer support.
The information for the Charities Register notes DU is reliant on volunteers, with about 8000 volunteer hours a year spent on wetlands assessment and building, swan collection, and advice, education, field days, bittern project, supplying magazine content, Wairio planting and education, supporting schools, fundraising, auctions and dinners.
After running through the financials, which show a slight deficit for the year, John concluded:
“We are remain solvent, through support from membership subscriptions, auctions, grants from the Wetland Care Trust, and donations from Treadwells, Pharazyn Trust, Muter Trust, South Wairarapa Rotary and one-off grants.”
Election of Officers
The DU Board remained unchanged, with the two directors whose two-year terms were up, Jim Law and John Dermer, being re-elected unanimously.
Waterfowl and Wetland Trust
David Smith reported that the trust was in good shape thanks to the sharemarket, and despite paying out $40,000 to DU, was in a similar financial position as it was at the end of 2017.
He said the trust was doing exactly what it was set up to do: provide money to enable DU to carry on its work.
Will Abel said that in line with the previous couple of years, there had been few applications for new projects, with most of the wetland creation activities centred on the Wairio Wetland.
A large wetland in Pahiatua that DU committed $5000 to three years ago had been completed, and in Masterton, DU had helped created another large wetland, to which it contributed $4000.
Will Abel said it had been a disastrous year for the royal swan, with no cygnets available and even the wildlife centre at Peacock Springs, Canterbury, the usual source of swans, was looking for some new breeding stock.
“We have no idea why really, but anecdotally I suspect it is because it coincides with the 50th anniversary of the moon landing,” he said, tongue in cheek.
“If it improves next year, my supposition will be proved correct, and I will present a paper at the next conference on it.”
He said it was fortunate that there had not been many requests for swans.
Peter Russell reported that the breeding programme had had a good season, with 65 whio reared from captive pairs and 15 reared from wild clutches. A total of 72 were released.
In the North Island, 30 were released. Three older birds from last season were released on the Whakapapanui in December, and 12 birds, six males and six females, were released at Blue Duck Station in January.
The third release, on the Manganui a-te-Ao, was in early March, with eight males released at the Ruatiti Domain and four females released down the river where there was a surplus of males. Three male birds were released on Mangawhero stream on 20 March.
Peter said it was always a great thrill to take part in the releases out on the river. He has been doing them since 1997 and it has changed so much. In 2000 they released seven, compared with 72 in the past year.
In the South Island, 20 birds were released on the West Coast in January in the Wainihinihi, Arahura, Styx and Kawhake rivers; 12 birds were released on the Taipo River in March; in Tasman 10 birds were released.
Paul Mason reported that DU currently had 280 members, with 57 of those unpaid as at the AGM.
He said a second subs reminder would be sent out, following email and postal reminders subsequent to the initial subs mailout.
He noted that in the past three years, payment preferences were moving from cheque to internet banking. Credit card payments remained about the same and PayPal transactions were increasing.
More members were responding to the suggestion that DU communicated with them more by email, he said.
Paul said new articles were added as events occur, with the most recent being the planting day at Wairio Wetland. Flight magazines, from No 155 to the current issue, have been loaded on to the site. Issue 29 has also been scanned and added as a PDF file.
Articles from more recent Flight magazines are being transcribed and loaded as searchable items – so far back to issue 159. Old issues are being scanned and loaded as PDFs.
He noted a drop-off in website visitors in the past three months and in response had upgraded the site-mapping software and re-registered the site with search engines.
The main files being downloaded were Flight magazines and people were also accessing the educational resources files (from Quack Club), he said.
Jim Law reported that the wetland was in good heart, benefiting from continued restoration work, albeit at a more modest cost to DU ($4455 versus $9500 in the prior year). Work focused on more bund wall improvements ($1700), tree planting ($2000) and noxious plant control ($755).
At last, significant progress was made by the Greater Wellington Regional Council to reticulate water from Matthews Lagoon and Boggy Pond to Wairio. Earthworks have been completed but after a “weather event”, remedial work is required. This will be done this summer.
“We had provisionally budgeted to fund a portion of this work but GWRC assumed full responsibility,” he said.
Total expenditure by the Wairio Restoration Committee, not counting volunteer time, since inception 14 years ago, now stands at $220,000.
The Victoria University of Wellington School for Biodiversity and Restoration Ecology remain focused on their research at Stage 3.
The Restoration Committee is still holding funds (lodged with DU) from fundraising efforts totalling $10,807. A further $15,000 grant was recently received by local donors. These funds are also being held by DU on behalf of the project committee.
As mentioned last year, Wairarapa Moana, which includes the Wairio Wetland (administered by DOC on behalf of the Crown), has been included in a Treaty of Waitangi settlement with Wairarapa iwi. “Whilst the settlement has been delayed, the local iwi has assured us that they want us to continue our good work restoring the Wairio Wetland.
“We remain of the view, though perhaps slightly biased, that DU members should be proud of this project,” Jim said.
Jim Law reported on DU’s new initiative offering scholarships to students doing research in a relevant area. A trial offering a total of $25,000 over three years in grants of $5000 per student so far had had little response to date.
Four universities had been approached and it was likely the first recipient of one of the $5000 grants would come from Victoria University working on the Wairio site.
The President, David Smith, welcomed members to the 38th Annual General Meeting.
Many thanks to Di Pritt and Waimarino Wine Club for a very enjoyable evening last night.
David spoke of the end of his presidency – but still a lot of work to be done. DU faces a crisis in interest and membership.
He spoke of the Boards time spent looking at alternatives in the drive for younger members. Advice was sought and some possibilities have come out of that. We could look at the possibility of getting together with all like organisations, e.g. Forest & Bird, Fish & Game, National
Wetlands Trust, and Waterfowlers to form umbrella group to go to Government. This means that we would retain identity with no merger. There is a large amount of cross fertilisation over these organisations. However DUNZ could become a member with a stronger thrust on a national basis. As a result of the discussions at Board level David and John Bishop met with Tony Roxburgh some three weeks previous. They see some merit in the idea. DUNZ is seen as having the wetland expertise. Tony Roxburgh, from National Wetlands Trust, was introduced to the AGM and gave his background. He reinforced David’s comments and said that the idea of an umbrella group had a lot of merit. It had been raised with the Trust and they were comfortable at this stage of discussion. The forming of an alliance would give all individual small groups a voice. David then asked members to talk to Board members throughout the day and give some feedback. David now needs to step back and Ross Cottle has agreed to take over his role as President.
Lady Isaac, Kevin and Vietta Campbell, Alan Wilks, Ossie and Mary Latham, Euan Bidwell, Chris Bindon, Barbara Hanbidge, Gordon Pilone, Rob and Robin Borthwick, Lorraine Jensen, Wendy Simmons, Shonagh Lindsay, Myra Smith, Janet Denny, John and Diny Dermer, Graham Gurr, Dawn Pirani, Andrew Fulford, Sharon Cottle, Ken and Jacqui Barnes, Pam & Brian Maunsell, Adrienne Bushell, Peter and Anne Russell, Raeleen Mabin.
Motion: That the apologies tendered are accepted.
Moved: John Bishop, Seconded: James Martin. Carried.
Minutes of the last AGM:
Circulated in Flight #150 and copies
available at the AGM.
Motion: That the minutes of the last AGM be accepted as a true and complete record. Moved: Ian Jensen, Seconded: James Martin. Carried.
Matters arising from the 2011 minutes: There were no matters arising.
Thanks to David Smith to be recorded and congratulations on appointment as Judge of District Court.
Presidents Report: David Smith As circulated in Flight #150 and tabled.
Motion: The Presidents report is accepted. Moved: John Bishop, Seconded: W Abel. Carried.
Matters arising from the Presidents 2012 Report: There were no matters arising.
Financial Report: John Bishop
Presented at the meeting – as at March 31, 2011.
Current Account $19,854
Rapid Saver $9
Term Deposit $46648
Accounts be accepted subject to the review of engagement.
Due to the timing of the AGM this year the 2012 accounts are not yet finalised. Motion: That the 2011 financial report be accepted.
Moved: John Bishop, Seconded: David Smith.
Waterfowl and Wetlands Trust Report: David Smith (tabled). Reiterated that the nature of this investment means that it is a long term one that fluctuates, however we are almost back to the position of 2007 and the next 9 months should see an improvement. Moved: David Smith, Seconded: Jim Law. Carried.
Election of Officers:
The President read out the following Statement:
The Constitution states that the Board should consist of not less than six, of which half, but not more than two thirds shall be permanently appointed Directors.
As of right, the permanent appointments are the Chairman, President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer. Other permanent appointments are Neil Candy and William Abel.
Nominations for the Board:
New nomination from Jim Law for Andrew Fulford. Has been a long term member of DUNZ and works in wetland restoration. Moved: Jim Law, Seconded: Ross Cottle. Carried.
Are there any other nominations from the floor? None.
Wetland Care: William Abel (tabled). Moved: William Abel, Seconded: Ian Jensen.
Website Report: (tabled).
Michelle Cooper (webmaster) covered off her report. The website is getting a lot of hits – what is being looked at? Through the background information I am able to see the mostly looked at are news, duck facts and wetland facts and 69 percent of people are coming to DUNZ website directly.
Quack Club now has 80 members. Five schools are using our resources.
Moved: Jim Law, Seconded: William Abel. Carried.
Jim Law (Full report tabled).
Covered off report. • Have raised profile and credibility • Maintaining good coverage in media • Looking to ratchet up project due to success • Need to update strategic plans • Making a case to DU Board for further funding. Moved: Jim Law, Seconded: John Bishop. Carried. Jim Campbell proposed a vote of thanks to Jim Law for his energy and hard work with Wairio and said that without Jim it all wouldn’t happen. Pateke: Full report tabled
John Bishop - This project is in abeyance.
Received an email regarding DUCs 75th anniversary at Oak Hammock Marsh
DUNZ AGM – to go back to winter time scenario. July/August. Aware that we need to keep costs down.
Dart competition at Di Pritts last night raised $46 with the winner getting 102 points in 2 shots!
Ian Jensen spoke of Pharazyn Reserve - a KCDC project for the rehabilitation of an old wetland in Waikanae. Local schools are heavily involved but very light on members.
Thanks to Liz Brook for Flight magazine.
The President thanked the Board for their work throughout the year.
The meeting closed at 10.20am.
Hawke’s Bay Regional Council was delighted to receive a Distinction Award from the New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architects at the NZILA Resene Pride of Place Landscape Architecture Awards for 2013 in April.
The citation for the award states that Pekapeka Wetland provides a range of experience opportunities for users and acknowledges the contributing work of Shannon Bray Landscape Architect.
Stephen Cave, HBRC’s Operation Environmental Manager said “This is one of three awards for Pekapeka Wetland since 2009, realising its champion value and raising the awareness of wetlands throughout Hawke’s Bay.
“The award from NZILA is a great reflection on the restoration work happening in Hawke’s Bay and we are very honoured. It is estimated this award puts Pekapeka Wetland in the top five percent of landscape architecture projects undertaken throughout New Zealand in recent years.”
The award recognises Pekapeka Wetland as a high quality interpretive site for wetland restoration. It is noted for integrating public accessibility with educational features, using local materials and stories.
Stephen is quick to acknowledge a number of the project’s key supporters, particularly Shannon Bray, Waa Harris, Peter Dunkerley, the Community Foundation, Rotary Club of Stortford Lodge, Eastern and Central Community Trust and the preliminary work of Titchener Monzingo Aitken Ltd.
Iwi groups plus many children from schools (particularly Pukehou School) and Kiwi Conservation Club all played a key role in planting areas around the swamp.
Two successful auctions, one silent, the other noisy and very lively, kept members alert with lots of laughter to boot.
Auctioneer Dan Steele successfully filled the big shoes left by Bob Wood who sadly died in February this year. Dan’s banter was every bit as funny as Bob’s had been, and he cajoled many a bidder to go “just that little bit higher”.
The main auction raised $5255, the silent auction plus the raffle raised $1540. All thanks to those members who donated some amazing items for the auctions and the raffle.
Our intrepid group of AGM attendees visited the Pekapeka Swamp, squeezed in between the railway on the Eastern side, and State Highway 2 on the West. This area is well known to travellers who use SH2 south of Hastings. Older people who passed this way remember the swamp as being totally overgrown by grey willow. Steve Cave, Operations Environmental Manager for the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council (HBRC) explained the 98ha site is being restored to protect the cultural and historical value but also to help people understand the significance and important part wetlands play.
When Maori arrived in the area about 1530 this peat swamp, part of the limestone area, would have been very different. Its trip down hill started in 1873 with the dumping of rubble, fill and waste. The rail line was built in 1875. Between 1942 and 1970 channels were dug to drain the swamp, and in 1955 SH2 was straightened, cutting through the western side.
In 1970 Pekapeka was made a reserve. Willow control started in 1984 and finally a management plan to restore the wetland was approved by the HBRC. Helicopter and ground spraying targeted the willows. Community and school groups have put in many volunteer hours at the swamp. A clearing programme improved the flow of water through the wetland, and controlled animal and plant pests.
A plain to restore the wetland was approved by the HBRC in 1998. Work included a weir with a fish passage, to manage wetland flow, and funding allowed the site to be developed as a public reserve. Illegal dumping had continued at Pekapeka for many years and as a reminder of how wetlands had been treated it was decided to leave some rubble and reinforcing rods exposed as a reminder of the past.
Pekapeka opened to the public in 2010. Board walks, observation decks and even hides provide access and viewing points. Information boards give background and there is a picnic area. No toilets though. During duck shooting members of a local club use half the area and it is closed to the public. Club members are also involved in a predator control programme.
Steve said red tape, and resource consents often hold up restoration. So far it has cost them $60,000 for consents, eating into the small amount of funding they do receive. Thank goodness for volunteers.
Tony Roxburgh, chair and trustee of the National Wetland Trust provided the AGM with a glimpse of happenings with wetlands in Waikato.
The Trust plans a state-of-the-art interpretation centre, with research and educational facilities, wetland gardens and heritage trails on land next to Lake Serpentine in the Waipa district. This is one of 69 peat lakes in Waikato.
Issues to be worked through include highway access and formal agreement with the Department of Conservation. DoC has already given approval to construct a 1.4 km predator fence around 10ha of the reserve at Lake Serpentine near Ohaupo.
Tony said the plan includes a visitor concept plan, an interpretation plan, business plan and landscape developed for the site. These were funded by grants from Transpower, Trust Waikato and Waikato Regional Council (Environmental Initiatives Fund), and supported by Waipa District Council.
They are looking at the best way to restore wildlife, including the feasibility of a predator exclusion fence. Funding from the Waikato Catchment Ecological Enhancement Trust, and a grant from the DoC’s Community Conservation Fund allowed them to produce a re-vegetation plan to restore vegetation and habitat.
Students of Te Awamutu School have been searching for native and exotic fauna, and have been the first to confirm long-tailed bats at the site. Other species confirmed include Australasian bittern, North Island fernbird, Black mudfish and Spotless crake.
The pest fence was completed in June this year and they now need sponsors and donations to help with pest eradication and re-introduction of native species.
Other work in the Waipa district includes Lake Ngaroto one of the peat lakes. It currently floods the peat and Tony said this could be one of the larger projects for the Waikato basin aimed at reducing loss of wetland and preserving the quality of the peat lakes.
It is satisfying to see the steady rise of Ducks Unlimited website usage over the last year. Contributing factors are the great work DU are doing in Wairio and country wide, the improvements we are making to the site, word of mouth and a substantial amount of traffic directed to us by Google searches, mostly people looking for information on our webfooted friends.
Also on a rise - the use of our facebook page with now 161 members . It is a great venue to share thoughts, facts and photos on conservation and wetlands. A great place to visit and scroll through the ‘posts’ to get news on DU and other conservation organisations. We are linked with many organisations through Facebook, sharing and exchanging relevant information, as is the social networking way.
I have proudly been involved with DU’s website and other promotional projects for about three years. In that time the site has had a bit of a facelift, new additions and plenty of changes. Work continues and we look forward to further use of these resources in the coming year.
If you have not visited our website or facebook site we urge you to:
DUCKS UNLIMITED www.ducks.org.nz
QUACKCLUB (kids club) www. quackclub.co.nz and
An interesting visited during the AGM Conference
was the long, narrow Ahuriri estuary. We travelled by bus, so there was no chance to dip a toe in the water. With its wide range of fresh to salty, shallow to deep, and sandy to muddy habitats the estuary supports a diverse range of birds, fish, invertebrates and plant life.
It is a sanctuary for a wide variety of wading birds including Grey herons, Royal spoonbills, Pied stilts, Shags, Kingfishers and Gannets. Over 70 species of resident and migratory
waterbirds use the estuary as a feeding and resting area. Bar-tailed godwits/kuaka, Knots and Golden plovers migrate here each year from their arctic breeding grounds.