Sunday, November 24, 2013

Water temperatures recorded

The water temperature of the stream is being taken under the canopy where the bridge goes across the stream at the southern end. The warmest it gets in summer  is 16°C  and drops to just below 8°C in winter.

Reeds into the pond

Sixty plus rhizomes of Eleocharis sphacelata have been planted in the south end of the pond. This particular reed is popular with Maori for weaving so it is the intention that, if we can get it established, it would be made available for community harvesting. The rhizomes were donated by a small block holder at Whatawhata from their farm pond.

Pest control update

Double click to enlarge photo
Possum count trapped
2012 calendar year 22
2013 calendar year to date 7, with only one month to go.

Tracking Tunnels
Cards were put out for one night in Oct. One had lots of mice prints, three had a trace of a mouse, and one had a hedgehog. NO RATS. That is great news. That is the second recording of no rats. The earlier one was done in July. We are still catching the odd rat and a bit of bait is still going but it looks as though we are catching them as soon as they move into our area.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Morepork / Ruru

Photo from the built in webcam
There have been interesting developments with the nest box. We first checked the nest box on the 9th of October, nine weeks after it was installed and were very surprised to find two Ruru eggs but no sign of the parents. Nine days later we checked again and found the eggs in exactly the same spot with still no bird in attendance. The nest was considered abandoned so we took the eggs out a couple of days later. We blew them and found that the eggs were not fertile.  We have applied to DOC for a permit to have possession of eggs of a native species.

It is now four weeks later. We have not checked again to see if there is any more activity. A job we must do. 

Friday, October 11, 2013


One of our objectives is to try and get some epiphytes growing in the gully. We are not sure how successful this will be as they like the misty heights of the upper canopy with plenty of sunlight. Something our gully cannot offer. Two have been planted (not sure that is the term) onto ponga trunks and we have started growing seedlings on ponga stumps. The first two on the left in the photo were strapped to the outside. This was found difficult and messy to do. With the third one, on the right hand side in the photo, the epiphyte was planted into a cavity that was cut into the trunk. This was a lot more successful and generally easier to keep moist with sphagnum moss packed down the hole in the centre. 

Owl nest box.

Back in August we installed a Morepork / Ruru nesting box. This has a webcam and a red light installed so we can look inside using a laptop computer without disturbing the occupant. It has been installed where Morepork / Ruru have been sighted three times roosting during the day on tree fern fronds. We are not expecting anything to nest there this season but one never knows. The design is based on the Hamilton Zoo nest box used to breed their birds in captivity. 

Sign upgrade and repositioned.

We have had the sign maintained that was used at the St James entrance and installed it at the Sexton Road entrance to the gully. It was felt that our presence was made at St James because of the sign writing we had on the rubbish bin.

Upgrade to the creek crossing Sexton Road end

For those that walk the track you will have noticed that quite a bit of work has been going on upgrading the track and board walk at the creek crossing up the Sexton Road end. This section is where two creeks meet and gets a hammering from flooding. We are confident the new construction will with stand anything mother nature throws at it.  

Impressive pest control

No. 1 bait station and trap
Not one bait was required to be added to any of the 12 bait stations and there was no activity in the two traps during the latest check. This is the first time since records started in November 2011 to have no activity.
This is very promising for the coming breeding season.

Number 1 bait station in the gully behind 62 and 66 St James Drive is still the station that gets the most activity. We have a trap here also and frequently catch a rat. Rats have scented rat runs. This station must be located right on one. 

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Bat Utube

You must see this Utube clip recorded in Auckland of our native bat. We have these bats in the southern part of Hamilton. There is considerable work being done to encourage their population to increase.

Kahikatea planting

In line with our planting plan to develop a predominately Kahikatea wetland forest in the gully floor with Astelia grandis dominating the understory we planted 45 kahikatea in the wet pond area at the back of Sexton Road. This brings the total kahikatea planted to over 150. This does not sound that many but when you take into account that they are canopy trees planted 5 metres apart and that the wet gully floor is only part of the total area of the reserve then it is significant. 

Sexton Rd entrance

Work has been going on to tidy up the entrance to the gully from the Sexton Road end. This work is ongoing. The sign from down the south end has been upgraded by Sign craftmen – 843-7406 if you need a sign made – and will be erected shortly. 

Rangiora, Brachyglottis repanda

As part of our targeted planting policy to reintroduce plants that would have originally been in Hamilton gullies we have grown a good quantity of Rangiora, Brachyglottis repanda from seed collected from Te Pahu and Maungatautari . While the Rangiora are relatively common in bush areas they are quite hard to grow from seed.  We have planted a good number in our gully and we have been giving them to people that are planting other parts of the gully to spread the future seed source of this plant species in town.

Keikei,Freycinetia banksii

We have been fortunate enough to acquire four seedlings of KeikeiFreycinetia banksii from Wayne Bennett. These are a really interesting sort of climbing cabbage tree for want of a better description. They are hard to get and it is hard to obtain seed. The rats love the fruit. They have been planted were the track goes down the slope to the gully floor Sexton Rd end. They like it moist but not boggy. 

Fungi in the gully

It is the time of year when a great selection of fungi shows itself. There were too many to put the photos here. We will see if we can get them onto a separate page at a later date when time permits. 


As a charitable trust we have to, by law, have a formal AGM each year. Our financial year finishes on the 30th June so we usually like to get the AGM tidied up in July. It is open to the public.
Place: 7 Carisbrook Place, Rototuna, Hamilton
Time to arrive: 6.30pm
Date: 24th July
Pizza and a hot drink will be available during a “chat time” prior to the meeting starting (approx 7pm).
Minutes of the last AGM
Matters arising
Secretary’s annual report
Treasurer’s annual report
Chairman’s annual report
Re confirmation of the trust deed
General business

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Macro photographer loves our gully

Photo by Bryce McQuillan. An example of macro photogragph.

Bryce McQuillan is a Macro photographer and loves our gully because of the variety and size of invertebrates present. He said it is clearly evident that the rats and possums are under control. This makes it one of the best sites in Hamilton for maco photography. He usually goes down at night when all the night bugs are out although I did catch up with him in day light hour one Wednesday afternoon.
Bryce is doing the photography for a book about native spiders and said that a large number of those photos will be from Mangaiti Gully.
He has also expressed interest in taking small night tours through the gully and requested that we assist with a talk on the gully restoration project.
This is what restoration is all about were the native eco system is reasserting it’s self and a whole new biodiversity balance is occurring in the absence of rats and possums.

Mangaiti world famous in New Zealand!

We are not sure how we were selected – it may have been this web site - but Mangaiti is going to be in a book about large and small restoration projects throughout New Zealand. Ninety odd projects I believe. An edited version of an email we received is as follows:

Mangaiti Gully Restoration Trust is being included in a book Random House are publishing in September this year about New Zealand’s wildlife sanctuaries by authors Tony Lindsay and Dave Butler. Random House is New Zealand’s leading local book publisher, having won publisher of the year six years running, and this is one of their big projects for 2013. 

‘Paradise Saved’ is the working title for the book, an apt name for a book celebrating the ingenuity, teamwork and devotion of New Zealanders turning the tide of extinction. The book is a full colour, large format publication that will help with awareness of the Mangaiti Gully Restoration Group and the ongoing work of our volunteers. As well as featuring timely information about the project, they will also include our website and information about how new volunteers can get involved.

We have supplied photos on the subjects that they requested and they are very happy with the quality of those photos.

A display table at Waikato Show

This was not strictly a Mangaiti Gully table but a display to encourage people to control rats and possums in Hamilton gullies and was part of Tui 2000 and Waikato Environment centre hired space. The attendance  numbers were well up on last year. Fifteen thousand this year I believe – three thousand last year. There were lots of interest and lots of talk about restoring gullies.

Fund raising successes

Nine desks sold - great value for the purchasers
We have had the opportunity to raise funds from several sources over the last few months.  Statistics NZ donated 9 desks that were surplus to requirements after the census. These were sold off through our network raising $560, commission on selling bait stations at the Waikato show raised $45, a power point presentation to the Chartwell  Garden Club was rewarded with a generous and unexpected $50 thank you cheque and a working bee at a neighbouring gully property earned us $350.  This totals $1005. With money in the bank it just makes our working and planning projects in the gully just that much easier. The generosity of all those people and organizations is much appreciated.

Power point presentation available

 Just after clearing weeds two years ago
A power point presentation on our gully activities was put together for the Chartwell Garden Club. This is now available to any group or organization that may be looking for a guest speaker. The presentation takes about 30 minutes plus question time. Your group would have to supply a projector that a laptop can plug into and a screen or a suitable blank wall. If you are interested give Rex a ring on 854-0973.

The two photos are from the power point presentation.
Two years on, native regrowth

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Gully tracks

Map created by Kerry Jones, DOC, Hamilton. Double click to enlarge
 Like cheese, good things take time. The map with the tracks on is finally finished into a form that can go onto the blog. It has also been put onto the page "The Gully" as a quick reference.

Ready for the autumn rains

The shade house is doing what it supposed to do. It is full to over flowing with plants for this autumns planting. It is not really big enough so some of us still have a number of plants at home. Then again we probably always would! There was talk of extending the shade house as soon as it was finished but we are not sure there is enough enthusiasm to do that. It was quite a job to get it to the stage it’s at.

Grey Willows

We have a policy of retaining the willow trees to suppress exotic weeds and acted as a canopy cover for the understory until the native canopy trees have enough maturity but we are finding that we are gradually thinning them as they either fall over or snap off.  Both of which the Grey Willows are prone to do particularly since the Honey Suckle vine has been removed. Once a tree gets a bit of a lean on, because of the very muddy ground, the weight of the top gradually, over a number of months, brings the tree over. When they lean over a track we have to remove them.

Fantails in the gully

There appears to be a healthy population of Fantails in the gully at the moment. When the bait stations were being check over Easter fantails were present the whole time while walking down the length of the gully. In some cases several were present. I hope this is the result of a good breeding season due to the eradication of possums and rats and not just a seasonal phenomenon.

Gully slope reconstruction

There have been some questions being asked about the gully slope reconstruction being carried out by the northern stream crossing. This is nothing to do with our gully care group. The bank was showing signs of movement and the work being carried out is to stabilise that. It is being done by the land owner in consultation with Hamilton City Council. The council will be planting on the bank this coming winter.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The relationship between exotic and native flora and fauna in restoration projects within our cities.

An observation by Rex Bushell
Native flora restoration in cities is under constant pressure from hybrids, selections of genetic variations and selective breeding done by commercial nurseries targeting new and varied cultivars of native origin for the domestic urban market. These commercial variances will cross with many genetically pure species that may be planted by restoration groups or cross with old established canopy trees that have existed in the city for many years. Some species like flax, manuka, lancewood, kowhai and totara are particularly vulnerable.
Over time, depending on the life cycle of a particular flora species, this will create a genetic evolution within the native forest reserves in or close to, a city.
Is this good or bad? Either way it is inevitable. It can be slowed down by planting eco sourced plants but it cannot be stopped. For the flora purist this may not be something to look forward to.
To look at it from the native fauna angle, they will happily eat the berries or drink the nectar of a modified native. In fact, their participation is often the cause of genetic variation by transferring the pollen from a domestic selection to a native. 
Because of the large variation of flora species within a city there is an opportunity to target non native plants that attract - as opposed to just feeding – a targeted fauna species such as the tui and bellbird.  This is why Banksia integriflora is being promoted. There is plenty of opportunity to plant Banksia integriflora in parks around a city where exotic trees are planted and in domestic gardens without compromising the integrity of native restoration projects.  The gardens of the University of Waikato would be an excellent example where natives and exotics are planted along side one another including Banksia integriflora resulting in a high population of tui. 
Banksia integriflora may have a propensity to be invasive in some parts of New Zealand but this is not the case in the Waikato. Bunny and John Mortimer had a tree growing at their Taitua Arboretum and only ever got one seedling. Maxine Frazer has a QE11 block at Te Pahu and has a Banksia integriflora growing by her house and has never seen a seedling.  On the road verge by 90 Wellington Street in Hamilton there is a very fine specimen that must be all of 100 years old with no proliferation of seedlings in the area.
 To summarise, in city environments exotic flora tends to dominate over natives.  Because of this management plans have to be more adaptable if our target is to reintroduce or sustain native fauna species within our cities.