Thursday, November 19, 2015

Do you get confused with all the small leaf coprosmas?

Maxine Fraser did a bit of research and compiled this report that may help you.
On 3rd July 2011, there was a short workshop at Tamahere Nursery pointing out the conditions for these shrubs commonly used in Waikato gully restoration.  Plants which prefer the wettest sites feature first, followed by those that prefer less wet areas.
                                 Berry colour                                 Notes
C. tenuicaulia           Black        Very similar to C.areolate, but with tuft at stipule.

C. propinqua            Dark blue/flecked              Freely hybridises with C.robusta
C. rotundifolia           Orange/red
C. rigida                    White/yellow/orange
C.areolata                Dark purple
C. spathulata            Orange/dark red/black.         Very similar to C. areolate (white berries and fruits only when large tree).
C. rhamnoides           Dark red.
Following reading Small Leaved Shrubs of New Zealand (Wilson H., and Galloway, T, 1993), consulting the databases of New Zealand Plant Conservation Network and the Waikato Regional Council’s What to plant in Waikato Wetlands as well as my observation of plants in the wild, I have concluded that tenuicaulia is ‘the’ swamp coprosma (to which it is often referred), so I would plant this at the wettest end of list.  tenuicaulis and propinqua prefer boggy, low-fertile and poorly-drained sites.

C. rhamnoides is at the driest end of the list but does not like dry conditions, just less wet and free-draining.

Another study from Waikato University stated that these shrubs having separate male and female plants (dioecious), should be planted no further than seven (7) metres apart to ensure optimal wind pollination.

A reminder that to enlarge any photo in this blog just click on it.

Counting NZ Butterflies

Photo by Tony Wills
The Red Admiral butterfly has become rather rare, in and around Hamilton City so we have been investigating introducing plants that they use to feed and breed on.
In the meantime there has been an intuitive being run by the Monarch Butterfly NZ Trust to develop an annual butterfly census being done from the 10th to the 30th Nov (not many days left).  This is not just for Monarchs. The link to their site is:

Or a direct link to their very colourful census form:

Step upgrade

For those that use the steps down beside the big walk bridge you will have noticed that we have upgraded the lower end of the steps. This badly need attention. Downer, again, willingly donated millings (shingle) to complete the job. These are designed and built to DOC specs.

Building steps as a fund raiser

Our Trust built a set of steps for a private individual as a fund raiser. It was the most complex that we had built but the finished article was very impressive and gave the owners easy access to their gully. Our team suggested we make ourselves available to do another job if anyone needed a set. Maybe one build a year. It is not something that we want to be doing a lot of. Cost wise? The set in the photo is quite big and cost just under one thousand dollars all up, so a set half the size would be about half that.

We’ve been busy planting

Our last count for the planting season now stands at 1483 plants (HCC supplying approx.700) going into the ground this past winter many of which were infilling to thicken up the understory or to introduce plants that either are not in the gully or there are not many of a particular variety.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Garden Shed complete

The garden shed is complete and has fifteen bags of potting mixture in it all ready for the potting group to start. If you would be interested in joining a small group that would look after the shade house either email us or ring
Rex 854-0973.

Blechnum filiforme

Blechnum filiformeion starting it's upward climb
This is an interesting fern in that it creeps along the ground until it finds something going up that it can cling to then starts its upward climb. As long as it stays on the ground it remains sterile and leaves are small. Once it climbs it changes form into a large leaf format and becomes reproductive.
While it is a common fern in our bush in the North Island we have it in only one location in the gully so we dug out six plugs relocating them to other areas.

Blechnum filiformeion  plug relocated

Feeding nectar-feeding birds

Photo by Clare Mansfield
Feeding nectar- feeding birds over winter is always an option in your home garden.  Even if you are unlikely to get the more exotic birds you should at least get Wax Eyes. They may be common but they are still fun to watch from your kitchen window. If you are lucky you may also get Tui, Bell Birds, and if you live in a very special part of New Zealand (not Hamilton) Stitch Birds and Saddle Backs.

This link will take you to handy hints on sugar feeding created by Banks Peninsula Tui Restoration Group:

New Epiphytes

We have acquired another epiphyte. We think it is an Astelia solandri. This was divided into three and attached to punga logs; they now hang on the wall inside the shade house to grow on.  We have a really good selection of epiphytes now. The trick will be to find big enough trees to install them on that are not willows, then to keep them healthy once they are installed. Some are getting near the installing stage.


Yes it is that time of the year again. The Trust’s AGM is being held at 7 Carisbrook Place, Rototuna, at 7pm on Tuesday 21st July.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Ghost (Puriri) Moth

Hole left by a Ghost Moth caterpillar
We have all seen the holes in the willows that the Tree Weta live in but did you know that the holes are what is left behind from the Ghost Moth Aenetus virescens caterpillar? If you did know did you know that the Ghost Moth is alive and well breeding in Mangaiti Gully?
Some interesting facts from; “Common Insects in NZ, by David Millar 1971”, the Ghost Moth is the largest native winged insect with a wing spread reaching 150mm (6”). The moths used to appear in great swarms but with the clearing of their habitat, numbers have greatly reduced. The Morepork favour them as a food source.
The caterpillar bores into the growing limbs of a number of trees, which includes our Grey Willows, covering the entrance hole with a fine silken camouflaged web. The caterpillar stage lasts for three years before emerging as a moth during September to November.
A covered entrance hole with a fine
silken camouflaged web
It is interesting to observe what native fauna is already living in restoration areas before major change to the flora mix is attempted. If we had removed all the willows when we first started, as was suggested by a number of informed restoration people, then a very large habitat of the native Ghost Month would have been removed. It would have taken ten to fifteen years for replacement trees to be big enough. The Ghost Moth may well have, at worst, become extinct in our gully or, at best, left with a seriously depleted population.
Ghost month caterpillar bore the holes which pupa to moths that feed the Moreporks. The holes left behind are a shelter for Weta. Weta are also a food source for Morepork.

Giant Willow Aphid

Giant Willow Aphid
It was evident during late summer a honeydew was covering the plants in the understory of the willows and there was considerable bee (not wasp) activity up in the willow canopy.  Since that time it has come to our attention that a Giant Willow Aphid Tuberolachnus salignus  is present in the Waikato. It is now winter so not the time to confirm that they are the cause of the honeydew but we would say it is highly probable. It will be interesting to see if they have any negative effect on the willow population.  If you would like to know more about this aphid click on this link:

Photo:Dense colony of Giant Willow Aphids (image courtesy of Alan Flynn, Ministry for Primary Industries, New Zealand)

Extension to shade house

Base in place for the garden shed
An extension to the shade house has been completed adding about another third to its length. To complement this we are erecting a garden shed to store potting mix and other shade house potting equipment. Once all this is completed in the next week or so we are forming a small team of about three or four people whose responsibilities will be just to look after the growing of the plants in the shade house. We already have a “keen to start” team leader for this group. She will be working in the afternoons, the day is not yet confirmed, and will be on an “as required” basis.  We do not imagine there would be enough work for weekly working bees. If you would be interested in having your name on the “on call” list for this team send an email to

A serious population of copper skinks

Wow. Do you reckon our skink habitat will ever be like this? We hope they are not Rainbows!!

Down side of opening up to the public

One of our bait stations was seriously attacked.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

More Pork Nesting

It has been a case of good news and bad news. The good news is that a Morepork nested and sat on two eggs in the nest box for over 30 days which is the incubation period. The bad news is that the eggs were infertile so nothing hatched. Juveniles reach sexual maturity at the end of their first year, but the male only mates when he is two years old and female when she is three years old so we are wondering if they are an immature pair. We had two eggs laid last year but they never sat on them. Those eggs were also infertile. We are hoping for a successful year this coming season.

The bird would temporarily leave the nest when we visited the box.  She never seemed stressed in any way so this enabled one of our team, Jeanette Holborow, to take some excellent photos including a short video picture. Click on this link and it will take you to it:

Looking in the nest box using a built in camera

Fire in Gully

In early December we had two young people set fire to the foliage on the east side of the walk bridge. It was fortunate that it was not as dry then as it is now. The fire engine was called and the fire was put out before it got a hold in the main part of the gully.

We are having a few problems with this sort of thing lately. Two lots of graffiti, the rubbish bin has been attacked on several occasions and one of our volunteer’s bag was taken one Wednesday. If anyone has information that identifies any of the people involved please contact the Trust. Contact details are on the heading of this page.

2014 Awards

Mangaiti Gully Restoration Trust was presented with two awards in December.
The Kowhia Community Group Ward in recognition of our huge contribution to local environmental initiatives. This award is sponsored by the Environment Centre Hamilton and Hamilton City Council and comes with a $400 grant. We would like to thank Gerard Kelly, HCC Community Planting Co-ordinator, for nominating our Trust and his ongoing support in our gully work.
The other Award was the Weedbusters Awards 2014 for weed busting on public land. This award is sponsored jointly by Department of Conservation and Waikato Regional Council.
Both these awards recognise the effort put in by our regular volunteers at our Wednesday morning working bees and the success we are having working towards our Trust’s vision to restore the native flora of the gully back, as near as possible, to pre-European status and to manage the gully in such a way that native fauna (birds, fish, bats, reptiles & insects) will re-establish, either naturally or by introduction and for this to be sustainable.

Our Trust would like to thank all the sponsors of these awards and their recognition of our work. 

A local Tui on You Tube

This video was captured by Kimble Putney outside his window in the gully just behind Porritt Stadium in Chartwell, Hamilton, NZ. It was a daily visitor on the flax flower.

Skink habitat sanctuary

This project has been completed with the cat proof hedge of Corokia cotoneaster being planted. This will take a couple of years to become cat proof but we are satisfied that this will be an acceptable solution to the cat problem. We have introduced a female Skink and two young found nearby and are confident that others will soon take up residence.

Corokia cotoneaster