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.
Jim Law explained what is happening at Wairio Wetland in the southern Wairarapa when he presented the following at this year’s AGM.
During 2012/2013 restoration work increased significantly and the research programmes by Victoria University’s Wellington School of Biodiversity and Restoration Ecology were expanded to include nutrient studies and hydrology.
However, of greatest interest are plans we have been pursuing for some time to reticulate water from the neighbouring Mathews lagoon (and possibly boggy Pond), under the Parera Road and into the Wairio Wetland. This would be a great boost to the health of the Wetland and assist in stripping nutrients before the water finally reaches Lake Wairarapa.
This year’s increased work cost just over $25,000 (prior year $15,000), and was once again financially supported by the Nikau Foundation, Rotary, the Pharazon Trust and the Ron Greenwood Trust and the Estates of two former DU members, Bruce McKenzie and Ron Brookes. Greater Wellington Regional council also contributed funds received under the Government’s “Fresh Start for Fresh Water” programme. In total third parties contributed $15,000, with the balance of $10,000 coming from DU resources
For the 2013/2014 year we have an even higher budge of $35,000. Key items include our normal planting, led by DU’s Trevor Thompson and again involved a number of our stakeholders, notably pupils from the local Martinborough School, students from the Taratahi Agricultural Training Centre, Rotarians and other interested parties, including of course, DU members. Good local media coverage was provided by Gill Lundie, the Wairarapa Chapter Chair. Further planting is planned for late August brings the total for the year to 4000 plants – a record!
The other main 2013/2014 item that has been completed is the construction of a bund wall around the western side of Stage 4 that has retained significant water in the Wetland. Wairio is no definitely being seen as a success story by the wider community and DU’s profile has grown accordingly.
Maybe - but not just yet
Neil Candy reported that Jim Law had replaced Ken Cook as a trustee on the Waterfowl and Wetland Trust, which was “ticking along really well” with more than $500,000 in the bank.
Reporting on the work of Wetland Care, Will Abel said $10,800 had been spent on three wetlands in the past year, creating about 10 acres of wetland
Where to from here will be the big question facing the DUNZ Board in the coming year. President Ross Cottle, in opening the formal business of the 44th AGM, said that, with an ageing membership and fewer members keen to do the work, the future direction of Ducks Unlimited would be on the Board’s agenda this year.
Measures already in place or under consideration were making Flight a two-yearly publication and changing the conference to a biennial event rather than yearly. With fewer demands to create new wetlands and maintain the established ones, the Board would be looking at other ways, including research scholarships, to support DUNZ’s goals.
Ross thanked John Cheyne, who resigned earlier in the year, for his four years as president and for raising the profile of bittern. Ross also paid tribute to those members who had passed away during the past year: Ian Pirani, Nancy Pain, Audrey Pritt, Alan Wilk and Robin Borthwick. Joyce Brooks also passed away after the AGM.
Treasurer John Bishop presented the accounts and updated members on the new rules for charitable trusts, which require entities to state their purpose. DUNZ had submitted the following mission statement: “We deliver and advocate for effective wetland restoration, development, research and education; and support the preservation of threatened waterfowl and the ethical and sustainable use of wetlands.”