Thanks to the Nikau Foundation, Wairio wetland has again been granted a generous amount toward development for the wetland. The Richard and Doreen Evans Charitable Trust provided $4000 in the 2015 Nikau Foundation funding round.
Conditions placed on the grant:
Should any of you wish to know more go to the Foundation’s web site, www.nikaufoundation.org.nz.
The Nikau Foundation has appointed a new General Manager who brings a wealth of experience from the community and voluntary sector. Louise Parkin has had 25 years working with charitable and philanthropic organisations both in New Zealand and internationally.
Ms Parkin had been at Nikau Foundation as their Philanthropy Advisor for six months before taking up the role of General Manager in January this year.
In her spare time, she teaches the Japanese martial art of aikido to adults and children. Her personal philanthropy is for the benefit of the environment and international aid.
The Nikau Foundation is part of a world-wide network of community foundations set up to benefit a specific geographic area, in this case the Wellington region. The Foundation manages 22 endowment funds that benefit the arts, education, social and youth projects, the environment and beyond. It does this through the generosity of local donors. The funds it manages grew 100 percent in the last year.
The presentation of DUNZ’s certificate “in recognition and appreciation of support to NZ’s waterfowl and wetland habitat” to Ian Gunn from Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) – Manager of GWRC’s Wairarapa Moana Project and a great supporter of the Wairio Wetland Restoration Project.
Ian was critical in securing a “step change” in funding for the project. The presentation was made at the end of the meeting along with the small gift of a bottle of wine. DUNZ members may recall Ian joining us at our 2014 AGM in Martinborough.
The recent meeting was held at Fish & Game’s Kilmore Lodge, adjacent to the Wetland where the group planning the 2016 work programme was underway.
Funding currently tots up to around $30,000. Of this, about $20,000 is already funded by contributions from our supporters.
June 21 work started at 9am for the organisers, supported by some strong lads from Taratahi Agricultural Training College and farm workers from a local sheep and beef station Palliser Ridge. Those strong farming trainees dug holes in pre-sprayed spots in rough, fescue infested terrain.
Just after 10am we also had about 20 school children from Martinborough and Kahutara primary schools arrive to “assist” in planting flaxes in the holes prepared by the aforementioned lads and workers. In all, around 65 folk helped with the planting and by 12 noon, 750 plants (about half of them kahikatea) were in the ground at the noreastern corner of the Wetland.
Greater Wellington Regional Council provided educational support and the school children, in addition to planting, were treated to a field class identifying plants common to the Wetland. That and the hot sausages for lunch (again provided by GWRC) made a great day for the children who said they would be back next year to see how “their” plants were growing.
The weather was not wonderful, but Robin and Heather List are seasoned birders and the pair set off to Wario to check on birds and do a count.
Robin said “The expedition consisted of Heather and me. We have the gear and do wetlands in squalls right cheerfully, so there was no grumbling in the ranks, though the waterproof notebook was abandoned in favour of the little recorder, which worked well under wet, windy conditions. The sun broke through at times and the whole place was looking grand as wetlands in winter can.
“There wasn’t a feather of a Dabchick nor yet a Bittern to be seen, so we’ll go looking in other haunts. It is possible they haven’t read the books and aren’t breeding yet, but it has been a mild winter.
“What we did see or hear in the space of 2 hours 10 minutes, not counting the walk along the road back to the car was, here in random order.”
Black swan 135,
Mallard X Grey 26, (possibly a couple of Shovellers among the tussocks at the sheds pond, but I think they prefer Boggy Pond)
All up16 species were seen by this intrepid pair, who also had an enjoyable lunch and excellent company in beautiful surroundings.
“Who could ask for more?” said Robin.
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.