Saturday, December 9, 2023
This area next to the Rototuna Primary School (see map) is in a transition stage with a number of entities still partly involved with interests. We have an interest in it because of its proximity to our existing boundary, the fact that it has three bat homes that we have installed (no bats yet I don’t believe), and a breeding colony of white faced herons that have been there for a number of years. On going tree felling by the housing subdivision developers and council is a concern. Recently the council arranged for an arborist to fell and chip the gums on the school boundary. Our Trust worked with the council, and with support of some DOC funding, planted 1234 native trees into this mulched gully slope. We have been lobbying the council to ensure that the remaining trees stay there. Because the pines are old and high, they give cover from frost while not having deep shade, so are ideal for supporting understory planting of frost tender native plants. We have planted twenty odd pukatea and some tawa both of which are frost vulnerable in their early stage. Other than clearing out woolly nightshade there has been no major weed clearing as yet.
As mentioned on our last post, originally our tracks were built to give our volunteers access to do restoration work. Since our section of the gully has been opened up, the public have started to use the tracks for their recreation. We have now changed the focus for our track infrastructure. It has been a long process, with 1.4km of track being upgraded by hand with spades and wheel barrows (like the Ministry of Works in the 1930’s!). We now have the end in sight with the last few, but challenging, metres up to Haswell Road entrance to complete. This is all in line with Hamilton City Councils Nature in the City strategy of opening up the city’s natural areas for the public to enjoy.
There has been a considerable increase in anti-social behaviour in the gully. Unfortunately, this is what we get throughout the city in public areas. We have noticed there is a considerable increase during school holidays. To list some of these activities: • Tagging on our infrastructure. The signature of ø7 has been identified as a male Rototuna High School student as it was also reported in their school toilets. • Supermarket trollies tipped into the gully • Wilful damage to tracks and plants • Bamboo plant stakes removed • Signs ripped out of the ground and damaged • Drug taking paraphernalia left in the gully • Fires lit • And while it will be a different social demographic, I would also classify throwing plastic bags of dog poo into the bushes as anti-social and letting responsible dog owners down. We now look at all dog owners walking their dogs with suspicion which is unfair to them.