Sunday, December 18, 2011

Hamilton City Council Kowhai Community Group Award

What a great end to the year. Mangaiti Gully Restoration Group was nominated by a number of people and won the HAMILTON CITY COUNCIL KOWHAI COMMUNITY GROUP AWARD and received $400 for our work in the local environment through community involvement, pest control, clearing, and planting. Our thanks have to go to Hamilton City Council and particularly the enthusiasm and encouragement of Gerard Kelly, Paul Duffy and Tim Newton for their support. It is that time of the year that acknowledgement and thanks must also go to all those people who have given up their time as a volunteer or who have contributed in other ways. It is your contribution that is making the Mangaiti Gully project so successful.
A very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all.

Sexton Road track access upgrade

With all the house building going on at the end of Sexton Road we are in the process of closing off our access down the side of the gully and opening an old existing track where the concrete storm water spill way / path runs from the road to the gully top. This will become a public walkway once it has been developed and will eventually connect up with the walkway system at the foot bridge.

The track after heavy rain

After a lot of overnight rain an inspection was made of the board walk and general track infrastructure. All things considered everything looked good. The water was only just up to the board walk. The modifications to the track under the tree ferns remained above the water line so was sound.
The pit sand on the track through the planting could do with compacting when it has dried out a bit. The drains under the track were carrying water as it supposed to. Generally things stood up very well.

Tracks at the Foot Bridge

The track across the new planting has had matting and pit sand spread along it. The matting is to stop the track disappearing into the mud during the winter. It was inspected after heavy overnight rain and all the drains and culverts were directing water in the right direction. The matting was donated by Apparelmaster Waikato.
The track under the tree ferns has also been completed.

Possum traps available

We have purchased three DOC 250 traps (Rats, Hedgehogs and Mustelids) and two cage possum traps. These were funded by the Waikato Regional Council’s Small Scale Initiative Fund. While we will be using the possum traps ourselves they will also be available to anyone that is having possum trouble in their back yard and it does not necessarily need to be our gully. The overall policy is to get rid of as many possums as possible.

Kingfisher nesting

There have been sights of Kingfisher burrowing into an old rotten tree trunk. They have been very active around the new planting area below the foot bridge for some time. A rat trap has been placed at the base of the tree to help prevent any attack on a nest by rats. It is interesting to note that fauna make use of the old and decaying as something like a tree goes through its cycle. It’s the difference between natural areas and gardening. With natural areas we leave things to a natural cycle with a bit of a helping hand and guidance from us at times and gardening we would clear away all unwanted plant material to ensure everything was nice and tidy.

Little Shag

A little Shag or Kawaupaka (we think) was spotting on the walk bridge on a very wet Sunday. This is the first one that has been seen by any of us. It may be just passing through. If anyone living on the gully has seen one before or can confirm that it is a regular please let us know. It you double click on the photo then it should enlarge so you can get a better look at it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Working bees

There will be NO Saturday working bee for November, December or January.

Shade house update

We were offered an old shade house that was no longer being used. We removed all the shade cloth, weed matting and an irrigation system. We were very pleased to get this and had a really enjoyable working bee in the country. Plans are being drawn up for our shade house so that we can present it to get permission to erect it on the site we have in mind.

Double clip on the photos to enlarge

Track upgrade

Hamilton City Council has given priority to building a walkway to give walkers access to the wet gully floor under the willow canopy. A DOC spec. set of steps have been built to give access beside the eastern side of the walk bridge, a track across the grass area cut with a small digger and a “floating” board walk constructed to float on the mud. The design of the floating board walk was established after a trial in the muddiest part of our gully.

This trial proved very successful which gave us confidence that the board walk we have built will be successful. We have an excellent working relationship with Hamilton City Council. In this project they supplied
all the materials and our group did all the labour.

There is still some finishing off to do to the track upgrade.

Bat monitoring

In October Mangaiti Gully was part of a city wide survey to establish the location of Pekapeka, Long-tailed Bat colonies. Seven electronic detectors were put in our gully for four nights but unfortunately nothing was recorded. Although we were forever hopeful the result was not that surprising. The known colonies tend to be located in the southern part of the city.

Rainbow Skinks

The Rainbow Skink is an Australian import and has become a pest because of their ability to breed prolifically in New Zealand. Check this link for details . If you find one you should kill it. If anyone sees one could you please send us an email. Thanks.

Mortimer’s Book

Waikato Environment Centre donated a copy of the book Trees and their Bark by John and Bunny Mortimer to our group. This is now available for borrowing. Contact Rex Bushell 854-0973.

Weed control Season

With the winter planting of 2768 native trees/plants behind us weed control becomes a priority with the onset of the spring flush. We are focusing on mulching the grass open areas with a regular supply of donated mulch (see the photo above with the digger in it). This is to retain the ground moisture during the summer dry period and to suppress the weeds.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Saturday Working Bee

The working bee this Saturday will be meeting at the foot bridge. We will be doing follow up weeding in areas that have already been cleared. This is generally light work and only requires secateurs. Maybe a hand fork or trowel could be useful. Gumboots and gardening gloves are a must. Don’t forget to bring something for your morning tea.

Shade House

We are planning to build a shade house to house our 680 plus native plants we have in pots. One thing we are still looking for is weed mat to go on top of pit sand which will be spread on the floor. We are looking at about 10sqm. That is 5m x 2m. Second hand matting is fine. If you know of some please drop us an email or give us a ring. Thanks.

Funding for Possum traps & DOC 250

We have received funding from Waikato Regional Council for two possum cage traps, three DOC250 traps (these trap ferrets, stoats, weasels, rats and hedgehogs) and $340 worth of baits. This has only just happened so we have not got the traps yet however if any of you that live on the gully and are having trouble with possums contact us and we can supply you with a trap. The photo is of possum damage done to a lemon tree at a St James Drive property.

Walked the stream

There is some concern at the lack of fish visible in the stream. The water looks good and healthy. I walked the stream length to the Waikato River in case a culvert had a vertical fall at the outlet end preventing fishlings coming up the stream but this was not the case. In fact there was only one culvert and that was under Hukanui Road. See photo.

Earth Works Sexton Road

There are major earth works going on at the end of Sexton Road right on the gully edge. We have concerns of unwanted soil being pushed over the gully edge. This makes it difficult for us to weed and plant out and there is a danger that silt gets washed into the stream causing a major challenge to fauna. To bring awareness to the contractors that this action would be illegal we have erected two signs.

Kahikatea natural regeneration

It’s not a very good photo but this very small kahikatea seedling was spotted growing on the gully floor. The nearest seeding trees are at the back of Hukanui School which is not all that far to fly in a direct line if you were a bird. Natural regeneration is so pleasing to see because that is ultimately what restoration is all about. All we are doing early on is helping nature to do its thing.

Flax planting

We have started to work into the black berry at the base of the gully at Sexton Road. There is a natural wet patch at the base so we cleared this and planted flax with a few Mahoe planted around the top edge.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Halo Photo Competition

Do you have a good photo, that you have taken, (most important) of a Tui or Bell Bird sitting in your "pictures" file on your computer? Why not get it into by Friday 30th September and see if it is a winning shot?

Double click on poster to enlarge

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sept Working bee

We are so far ahead with all our work in the gully we thought for the Saturday working bee this month we would support a conservation week project, planting at Lake Areare in Driver Road, Horsham Downs. This is a lake that is being restored right on our back door step. Open the pdf attached to your latest email for details or ring 854-0973 for details.
You can get to Lake Areare,Driver Road either by Lake Road to Howard Road then left into Driver Road or River Road, into Speedy Road then to right into Driver Road.

Board walk

The first stage of the gully board walk is almost complete. You can now walk a small circuit down the steps beside the walk bridge and follow the track round to the right taking you under the willow canopy. You then go over the creek and along the board walk which will take you out to the grass area that has just been planted. A track reserve has been allowed for through the planting out onto the concrete pad.
The board walk is through a flood plain so has been designed as a semi permanent structure. The idea is that if it gets pushed out of alignment during a flood it can easy be put back in place. We will know if the theory works with the first good flood. If the design is successful we are hoping to carry on up the gully to come out at Sexton Road.
Go down and have a look and while you are there spend some time observing the regeneration that is happening under the willow canopy.

Pot up our native plants

We have an impressive number of native plants on hand that we have raised ourselves or been given. A total of 680 over eleven varieties were re-potted into larger pots to grow on over summer. Most will be a good size to plant out next winter. The most impressive numbers are; 190 Astelias 70 of which will be a good size to plant out next winter with the remainder the following year, 126 Kahikateas and 128 Kowhai. There are also a number of seed trays at varying stages of germination that are not counted in this summary.
This was made possible by a funding grant of $350 by Trust Waikato for potting mix and plant purchase.

Mulching looking good

The mulching of the plants in the grass area is looking great and is ongoing. This will have a real benefit in keeping the weeds down and retaining moisture during the summer.

Record the sightings of Tui & Bellbird

Halo are keen to keep their records up to date. They are finding that now the Tui is becoming more common people are no longer sending in their sightings. They would like you to call 0800 800 401 or visit the halo website and log in your sightings.
I thought I saw a pair of Bell Birds in the gully last month but I could not be certain.

Our Tui and Bell Birds are totally unconcerned as to whether they feed on indigenous plants or not. You might like to consider planting a STERILE form of Prunus campanulata in your garden or a banksia. Both flower before the Kowhai so are a good source of nectar for our birds.
Please do not plant them in our gully and make sure the cherry is a sterile variety. The birds scatter the seed of the fertile variety far and wide and they become a weed.


We have introduced our first epiphyte to the gully,Collospermun hastatum. It needs packing out with some sphagnum moss to help it through the summer. If anyone has a couple of handfuls let us know.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Working Bee this Saturday 20th August 8.45am to 12 noon.

The monthly working Bee will meet under the walk bridge on the concrete pad which is accessible from either 56 St James Dr or 2 Grenache Pl. We have had deliveries of mulch which we will be spreading round the planted grass area to keep the spring weeds down and conserve the ground moist during the summer dry period. The mulch is very light and easy to handle. There will be lots of wheel barrows, shovels and rakes on hand. If you would like to bring your own that would be fine. The ground is not too wet so boots or gum boots should be ok.
Bring something for your morning tea.

A planting plan for next winter

We are starting to think about a planting plan for next winter. If you have anything you would like to see happen, particularly by those that live on the gully, please send through an email and we will contact you to talk through your ideas.

Before & After Photos

These photos show the before and after the removal of honey suckle under the Grey Willow canopy. This general area can be viewed by going down the steps beside the east side of the walk bridge and follow the track around to the right to the creek.

Double click on photos to enlarge.

You will be able see how the under storey is coming away now that the vines have been removed. The under storey regeneration has been assisted by additional infill planting. Next winter it is planned to further plant this area in Astelia grandis and Kahikatia.

Once the under storey is well established there will be a gradually poisoning the Grey Willows. This managed process is to help prevent a mass of weed growth that can happen when a cleared area is exposed to the sun light.

Whekei Ponga Dicksonia fibrosa

We have some good specimens of Wheki Ponga Dicksonia fibrosa at the gully base off Sexton Road. This tree fern is readily distinguished by its massive fibrous trunk and by its thick skirt of dead fronds that stay attached. They have been added to the Existing Flora page on the right hand side of the Home page.

Car boot sale

We had a small stand at the Tree Growers Associations annual plant car boot sale held at the Hamilton Gardens. The day was brilliantly fine. We had a selection of plants and flaxes that were not suitable for planting in the gully for sale. We made $77.60 after the rental for the site was deducted. We were very happy with that. That was the first deposit into our Trust bank account!

Ongoing Pest Control Trials

While we are happy with the rat trap design we are finding that mice are continually eating the peanut butter bait. This has become quite frustrating. We reviewed all the poisons available on the market. Our major concern of using poison bait was the chance of poisoning a pet puss when it ate a half dead mouse or rat that was dying of poison. Our research has come up with “Natural No Rats”, a bio gro certificated product marketed by Kiwicare. You can check out the spec by clicking on this link,103,0,0,html/Natural-NO-Rats
This product will be trialed over the next few months.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Working Bee this Saturday 16th July

The monthly working Bee will be in the gully at the end of Sexton Road. (The road Odering Nursery is in). We will be weeding in preparation for planting.
8.45am to 12 noon.
Bring, if you have them: secateurs, a spade, gardening gloves and something for your morning tea.
It is not too wet so boots or gum boots should be fine.

Lots of seed trays planted out / Keep 1Lt milk bottles

Looking to the future we have a large number of seed trays sown in targeted native species that will be required over the coming years. There are a wide range of germination times from four weeks of the Kawakawa, Macropiper excelsum to one year or more for things like the Pokaka, Elaeocarpus hookerianus. These will be required to be potted up when the seedlings are big enough. This is why we have applied for funding for potting mix. We have a large collection of 1Lt pots that we have kept from all our planting out this winter however we will be short of the 500ml size which are ideal for the first potting from the germination trays. The 1Lt budget plastic or waxed cardboard milk or yoghurt cartons cut down make ideal pots for this purpose. If you, your mum or granny uses them it would be really helpful if you could wash them and put them aside for us. If you let us know when you have enough that they are getting in your way we will arrange for them to be picked up or for you to drop them off.

Long Tailed Bat Survey Oct

I caught up with Darren Le Roux (the Hamilton’s bat man) on the DOC stand at the Agricultural Field Days and had a good discussion about the likely hood of bats being in our gully. He felt there was a good possibility as they have been found at Taupiri and he has records of them roasting in willow trees. He has secured funding for a Hamilton wide survey to be done. This is going to be in October when the bats are more active and, rather than hand held monitors which rely on you and the bat being at the same place at the same time of the night they will be using fix positioned ones. These will be installed and left in place for about five nights then moved on to another location.
He is interested in working in with our group when he is doing Hamilton North.
For information on the Long Tailed Bat click on this link: . It makes good reading.
The photo our thanks to Kerry Borkin

Trust AGM

For a full AGM report please click on the page link at the right hand side of this page.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Trust progress and first AGM

We now have an IRD number and a Trust bank account, with nothing in it!! We have applied for some funding from Trust Waikato and should know by August whether we have been successful. We will be applying for funding from other funding organisations as well.

The deed for “MANGAITI GULLY RESTORATION TRUST” is available to view on the company’s office website our trust number is 2548109.

We are in the process of applying for charity status.

We will be having our first AGM on Wednesday July 6th at 7pm. It will be held at 7 Carisbrook Place (off Cate Rd) Rototuna. If you would be interested in becoming a trustee you need to be at this meeting or contact the secretary, Malcolm Watkins 854-3243 to express your interest. We have the minimum of three trustees at the moment. There can be a maximum of seven so there is room for others who are interested in becoming involved. Please become familiar with the trust deed particularly Clause 2 to 4
The present Trustees are:
Rex Bushell (Chairman / co-ordinator)
Tim Reardon (Treasurer)
Rod Lugton
Non Trustee office:
Malcolm Watkins (Secretary)

Planting on Saturday

We had a very successful day’s planting on Saturday. There were 15 planters and we had over 1000 plants in by 2.20pm. That is really good. The weather cleared in the afternoon just long enough to get the job done. All those that gave a hand will be able to see the result of their handy work and feel proud when they walk over the foot bridge as the years go by.
Universal Treez, 027-274-0089, are donating several truck loads of mulch so that we can mulch the top area that will be prone to drying out over summer. The mulch will also help keep the weeds down.

Trapping Rats

We have six rat traps out, four around the foot bridge and two at the back of Sexton Road. We caught four rats at the foot bridge in the first week then nothing.
Carpet Court went to some trouble to source a length of plastic pipe that carpet used to be rolled on for us so that we can make another 10 trap covers. If you are in the market for carpet please ensure you get a quote from them and tell Karen McGill you are part of the Mangaiti Gully Restoration Group.

Track attracting visitors

Now that we have a track down beside the bridge there has been a number of visitors walking down under the willow canopy to see what we are doing. It is particularly pleasing to see the children spending time down there and using it as an adventure playground. There are plans to extend the track but, with the wetland conditions down there, this is not without its challengers.
Another thing on the drawing board is to design and build an eel feeding station to go into the creek by the track. Children can put their left over lunch in it on the way home from school!!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Major planting coming up

Saturday 11th June 1pm
Below the walk bridge joining St James drive to Grenache Place
To bring:
A spade (most important), a rain coat and something to eat and drink.

HCC has a planting plan for the grass area just north of the walk bridge on the west side of the gully. On the map it is the two blue circled areas, one with the number 25 in. HCC are supplying the plants (1563 of them) and we are committed to planting them. We have scheduled Saturday 11th June from 1pm. We are aiming for AT LEAST 20 people. This will be the one and only “BIG PLANT” as the gully we are working on does not have any other large areas in grass. You will notice on the map other blue areas on each side of the path. These will be planted by the Wednesday crew.
This is how it will work.
To ensure we have enough support for the afternoon planting could you please send an email by the end of this week to if you are able to come. If you can get a group of friends together so much the better. Having the end of this week as the deadline gives us the opportunity to look for support elsewhere if we do not get the numbers.
If it is wet we will try the Sunday. If still wet the following weekend. By wet we mean heavy rain. It will still be on if it is showery. Check this blog on Saturday morning if in doubt.

Saturday’s Working Bee 21st May

We were rained out last month. This Saturday we will be focusing on the same area at the end of Sexton Road. The Wednesday team has done some work there and cleared a path down to the gully floor. It has some excellent specimens of Totara, Kauri and Miro that someone planted some 20 odd years ago. The ivy needs trimming back from the native plants and the introduced plants need removing.
No gum boots required this time.
A spade, secateurs, and your morning tea (a rain coat if it looks like showers)
At the end of Sexton Road. That is the road Odering Nurseries are in off Thomas Road.

Sorting out traps

To protect the nesting birds and small fauna it is important to get the rat and mustelids population right down. We are at the stage of trialing a trap design for rats or rather a container design. The trap itself is just the standard wooden rat trap. The container that holds the trap has been designed to minimised or eliminate the catch of un-targeted species. We have five ready to go this week. This should give an indication of whether the design works and if it does what the rat population is likely to be.
When finances permit we are looking at two traps for mustelids. These are $80 each so we will have to wait a while - and then there are possums.

Seed collecting at a back swamp, Ngaruawahia

I accompanied Wayne Bennett from Forest Flora Nurseries to a native back swamp on private land on the Te Puroa Road which is off the Waingaro Road just out of Ngaruawahia.
This was an excellent example of a native flora back swamp with mature Kahikatea and Pukatea with their buttress roots dominating the canopy. The understory had an interesting variety of native flora flushing in the very wet conditions. The whole eco system looked so healthy and is what I imagine our gully floor to look like in 50 to 70 years.
Even this bush remnant has pressure from exotic weeds. Notice the grey willow branch in the top left of the photo!

Planting of donated trees

We have planted the 7 trees purchased from Forest Flora Nurseries with the donated money. There were 4 x Swamp Marie, 2 x Pukatea and 1 x Kahikatea. These are all good sized specimens. We have planted them along the track that runs up the west side of the gully. The last planting was the Kahikatea in the gully bottom below Sexton Road.
Big thanks to those that made the donations. It is very muddy but you can walk up the track guided by the blue markers. All the trees have double bamboo stacks.

Trust progress

We are officially “MANGAITI GULLY RESTORATION TRUST”. Our trust deed is available to view on the companies office website Our trust number is 2548109.

However we still have to apply for an IRD number, and then apply for charitable status and then open a bank account.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Saturdays Working Bee

The area we will be focusing on this Saturday will be the gully slope at the end of Sexton Road. It has some excellent specimens of Totara, Kauri and Miro that someone planted some 20 odd years ago. The ivy needs trimming back from the native plants and the introduced plants need removing. No gum boots this time - yah! Bring: A spade, secateurs, sun screen, a hat and your morning tea. Meet: At the end of Sexton Road. That is the road Odering Nurseries are on off Thomas Road. Time: 8.45am.

Plant seedlings from HCC

We have received a batch of unwanted seedlings from HCC. We have repotted them into larger containers to grow on. They will be ready to plant out next winter. The list includes: 49 x Kahikatea, 16 x Swamp coprosma, 101 x Lacebark, 88 x Manuka, 50 x Kowhai, 44 x Flax, 201 x Toetoe. This adds to an impressive list of other plants being raised by us for next winter planting.

Formed a track under the foot bridge

We have cut steps down beside the eastern side of the main foot bridge and formed a track that runs round to the right to a bridge we put across the creek .This has all been shingled. In the boggier parts we laid fibre glass matting down under the shingle. This track has primarily been put in for us to have easier access to the area that we are restoring. Even though the track does not actually go anywhere, it will attract a number of walkers and this will give people the opportunity to see what we are doing underneath the willow canopy. If you go on over our bridge you will find it is very boggy. There is no formed track so please be careful where you walk. Do not walk on plants, ferns or sedges (grasses).

Two ferns indentifed

There are two interesting ferns that have been identified and added to the “Existing flora” page on this blog (link top right of this page) Blechnum filiforme and Tmesipteris elongate.

Carex secta under pressure

We identified two stands of Carex secta that were under pressure from honey suckle and black berry. Cerax secta does not do well in the shade or being over grown. One stand is quite close to the foot bridge. Half is already dead. We have cut away all the vines and trimmed back the willow to let the sun in. We them replanted with seedling Carex to boost their numbers. The other stand is up the gully at the back of Sexton Road. It is a lot healthier although there are some dead stumps as well. (photo with boy before clearing and after) Double click photos to enlarge.