Whakaupoko Overview and Monitoring

Below is a powerpoint presentation that was given to the Landcare conference regarding the Chewcard project underway by Whakaupoko Landcare:


Successful Landcare Meeting 17 Oct 2011

In excess of 30 Group members attended the lastest meeting held at the Pukeoware Hall and listened to a very interesting address from staff from the Auckland Animal Health Board relating to work currently being carried out to eliminate TB from the Otaua area.  This extensive effort assists Environmental Landcare Groups such as Whakaupoko and Awhiu bordering the Otaua area to control pest numbers in these adjoining areas.  The clear message from Bruce and Geoff (AHB) was there can be no let up in keeping bait stations full and the use of Timms Traps or shooting.  The use of Chew Cards is proving to be an excellent indicator of the presence of pests and show very clearly were any lightening off of bait replenishment will allow possums to reinvade those areas very, very quickly.

The photo shows Ian and Adam from Awhitu Peninsular Landcare Group in discussion with AHB staff after the meeting.

Nardine Berry from NZ Landcare Trust also gave the group an insight into the activities of the organisation and members will information from the Trust, appearing on our Website from time to time.

Waikato Regional Council Grant

A one off grant from the Environment Waikato’s Small Scale Initiative Fund for 2011 has been approved to continue the pest control work carried out by by Group. The continued support from WRC is always appreciated and without such support, the Groups ability to control pest numbers would be restricted.

We need your help

Whakaupoko August Rat & Possum Census – We need your help.

Do you possibly have these critters on your property eating native birds, seed and native trees?

If you have bush, shelter belts and sheds then read on. We have access to some new and amazing technology that has recently been developed. It is so simple and yet extremely effective. It is 3mm thick corflute (eg real estate signs) cut up into sections 180mm x 90mm. Peanut butter is applied and it is now called a Chew Card. They are placed low down on trees and fence posts for a week and by checking for bite marks you can see what is around.  It is that simple. Initial results have surprised us with larger numbers than expected and also many ferrets right in our back yard.

While it is not strictly a census it provides excellent information on areas to target for rat & possum control. Also as we will be using this tool annually, it will provide excellent trend information. This helps with planning pest control in the area and is a key part for accountability in being able to source ongoing funding for pest control. Chew Cards are proving an extremely effective tool and are already being used extensively by the Animal Health Board in the war against possums and TB.


Chew Cards – What can you do?

  • Go to Wecks ITM in Patumahoe and take some ‘free’ Chew Cards and nails that have already been cut up by Whakaupoko Landcare volunteers. (You will need enough cards to make up a line through any bush to set them at around 50m spacings. Also include around houses and sheds).
  • Follow the instructions attached. Make sure you write your name and address on the card. For further information visit  www.patumahoe.org.nz in the Whakaupoko Landcare monitoring section.
  • Set out the Chew Cards for 1 week
  • If you have access to the internet go to Google Earth and on a satellite map of your property identify with a locator pin approximately where your Chew Cards were located.
  • Collect the Chew Cards, print off a satellite map and return them to Wecks ITM (or simply email to andrew@climbingjack.com). You can have a go at identifying the bite marks and click on the Landcare Research document which has excellent images of a full range of bite marks from a wide range of pests. www.landcareresearch.co.nz/publications/researchpubs/chew-card_a_guide_to_the_interpretation_of_animal_tooth_impressions.pdf
  • If you have rats and / or possums sort them out. Contact Whakaupoko Landcare if you need any assistance.
  • Come along to an evening with an Animal Health Board Chew Card expert in early September. Time and date to be advised.

We will transfer your results onto the Chew Card map on the website.  This census will be repeated every 12 months.  For further Chew Card information contact Andrew Sinclair, Ph 2363 647.


Bait Stations / Stoat Traps

We are also building a map of where all bait stations and stoat traps are located.  We would appreciate if you could go to Google Earth and mark their location on a map. Identify the map with your name and address and drop off at Wecks ITM also.


Walking Track to Patumahoe Wetlands

On Sunday 29th May 2011, about a dozen enthusiastic members of the Landcare Group spent a couple of hours with chain saws, scrub cutters, loppers and spades cutting back the overgrown gorse, woolly nightshade, and blackberry to open up access to the wetlands below Clive Howe Drive.  Thanks to the previous efforts of other members of the Patumahoe community in days gone by, the track had been formed with steps and some planting of native trees.  The task ahead for the current project is to reconstruct the steps where necessary, plant additional native trees and clear away more of the unwanted vegetation.



Festival for the Planet – Saturday 21 May 2011

My partner and son went into Auckland University last week to hear Dr James Hansen speak about climate change.

If you ambivalent, mildly interested or passionate about the subject –  this might be an event for you.  This leaflet was handed out at the lecture.

Entry is by koha

Who is James Hansen?

Dr James Hansen is the world’s preeminent climate scientist.  in 1988 he raised the alarm about climate change with his testimony to the US Congress.  He has been head of teh NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Earth Sciences Division since 1981 and is an adjunct professor at Columbia University.  George Bush tried to gag him, without success.  He may be the single most authritative voice on the science of climate change on the planet.  This will almost certainly be the only time he speaks in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Dr Hansen describes coal as “the single greatest threat to civilisation and all life on our planet”. His message is directly relevant to us in New Zealand.  The National Government has committed itself to digging up the country’s lignite reserves (lignite is the dirtiest type of coal) along with opening up our coastline to deep sea oil exploration.  Even without the human and environmental risks from mining and drilling, we cannot afford to see those resources burned – whether they are exported to China or burned here in Aotearoa.”

What is the people’s assembly on Climate Change?

The time for arguing about whether climate change is happening or not is over.  It is clear from the accumulation of scientific evidence and from what we see happening in the world around us.  Neither is is time is it time to ask the Government to take action – we asked them to make a strong commitment at the international negotiations in Copenhagen last year and they ignored us.  Now is the time for ordinary people to come together to celebrate our plant and our communities and to start taking grassroots action.  This event is not about how bad things might get.  It’s about how good we can make things, if we get together and make it happen”



March Newsletter

Hello to all
The summer / autumn rains have been excellent for native tree seed production. For example I have seen both totara and kahikatea trees almost orange / red due to the huge berry abundance. There is no current shortage of food for the birds.
There is much to report.
1    AGM / Next Meeting

We will be having an AGM on April 11th, 7.30pm at Pukeoware School. This is a week later than planned. We will have a topic of interest for the evening that will be advised and all are welcome. At the meeting we will be looking to elect at least a Coordinator and Treasurer along with committee members. We will also have available some initial results to view with the Chew Cards we are trialling for monitoring of possums and rats. All Welcome.
2    Paid Secretary Position
A brief for this position is enclosed. Anyone interested please contact Andrew Sinclair, Ph 2363647 or Barry Smith, Ph 2355220. It is for a fixed term of 12 months, starting April 1st, $2,000 and is a contract position. At a recent committee meeting attended by Clive Sinclair, Peter Sarah, Dave Puflett, Barry Smith, Paula Crosswell and Andrew Sinclair the position was approved with potentially adding excellent value to the long term future of our Landcare Group. It will ideally suit a person who has a strong interest in Landcare combined with good communication, internet / computer skills and organsiation ability.

3    Whakaupoko Landcare Structure Change
At the coming AGM I will be proposing that we change our structure to have a formal link with Patumahoe Village Incorporated. This is to share in the benefits of for example a website and publishing local newsletters while still retaining some of the individuality of each group. It is also to provide the opportunity to attain and Incorporated status that is important for obtaining funding with many providers only funding Incorporated Societies and Charitable Trusts. (While currently we have a good level of funds this will not remain without ongoing funding sources). Our current status is a Registered Charity. It does not limit our boundary to the Patumahoe area. . Currently Patumahoe Village is establishing a website that we can be part of. Also they are planning to have quarterly print & email newsletters. I have investigated the option with Paula Crosswell and Glenn Hunter and it appears one option is for our Landcare Group to come under the umbrella of Patumahoe Village as a group / division. This would need to be approved at an AGM. It would also be dependant on Patumahoe Village Inc accepting our request and for them to make a couple of small changes to their constitution at their own agm so that they also can become a registered charity. There may be other options and we wouldd welcome any input from people on this.
4    Bait Time

With the cooler weather rats & mice will be looking for buildings to occupy. Also there is an abundance of food so they will be reproducing fast. Keep up the bait and if you have run out visit Wallace or give him a call.
5    Raglan
Peter Hardy, Clive Sinclair, Luke Sinclair and Andrew Sinclair attended an excellent Fielday at Raglan run by Waikato Biodiversity Forum. There were some presentations on:
a    The latest with poison & trapping options by DOC staff
b    Monitoring Options for pests, birds and native trees by DOC staff
c    Local presentation of their pest control and revegetation initiative
d    Bat presentation including local monitoring. (Of interest is that a small handheld echo locator only costs aroundd $130). It appears bats are more common than many people think being found in 7 of 12 monitored sites in the city of Hamilton. Also in our own Landcare area we are aware of bats having been present in at least 6 sites.
Our use of Brodifacaum bait is very good with its multi purpose kill of rats & possums however the likes of DOC do not use this bait due to it’s persistance in the environment. There is no silver bullet and it is important that we are kept up to date with all the options.
6    EW Northern Region Pest Committee Report
Last month there was an excellent meeting That was attended by both myself and Stuart Muir. EW are continuing to achieve as much as possible with pest control with their limited resources. There was a presentation re Bio Control agents. There are some interesting devlopments that will hopefully shortly affect us.
Wooly Nightshade
A new bio control agent for Wooly Nightshade has just been released in several sites including towards Port Waikato. It is a Lace bug insect and initial results are that it is reproducing extremely rapidly and causing a good amount of damage to it’s host. It is expected these will be liberated more widely next spring provided they survive well in the winter. In the mean time we ask that all members make sure all large Wooly Nightshade producing viable seed are eliminated.
Wandering Dew
There is a new Bio control agent for wandering dew that is about to be released. I think it is a fungus. Again this sounds promising as in it’s native country wandering dew is nowehere near as healthy as it is in much of the bush in this area.
There is a friendly beetle a bit like a vegetable bug that has been released and that likes eating all thistle species including Californian Thistles. While it is unlikely that this bug will demolish thistles it is hoped it will be another weapon in the armoury.
It is a lengthy process to have a bio control agent identified, approved and released that spans well over 5 years and up to 10 years. This is because it is absolutely vital that any introduced organism does not have any negative impact on native plant and animal species.
7    Free Trees
Peter Sarah, Dave Puflett and Clive Sinclair are gathering together an excellent supply of free native trees for members to access and benefit from. Supplies will be limited and details will follow shortly. It is expected that trees will be made available earlier this year with the excellent rainfalls we have had so if you have an area in mind get ready. Those interested in sourcing trees should contact Dave (2363043) or Clive (2356031)
8 Bird Survey
There is one planned for the first week of the school holidays. We will discuss at the AGM if we should stay with this April date or revert to the usual month of march when this has been carried out most times in the past.
Best wishes

Andrew Sinclair

Ph: +64 9 2363647

Creating a bush block

Bush revegetation

I have found this an excellent web page to view regarding  practical methods for revegetating a bush block.


Its presented by Waitakere City Council  and is centred around the Waitakere ecosystems but it provides some useful information and hints on native plants, plant sources for birds and  how to get started and maintain a bush block.


Cheers David Puflett


Martyn Wright Road Field Day Photos

Here we are at Hiedie and Brian Morgan’s house getting Instructions for the morning session and discussing the techniques to be followed. Andrew Sinclair in red jacket and Garrick McCarthy with sunglasses on his head.




Just remember where this tag is, we need to find it on Saturday!





These pictures below show the bird monitoring in progress on Bruce and Gaylene Taylor’s property. We were also enthralled with the large size of the trees on all these properties.
We thought we heard a shining cuckoo and did hear a Kaka, but both bird remained unseen. Lots of pigeons and the odd Tui.  We all know the call and appearance of a grey warbler

( sorry photo missing at present)

Thank you to all host, Heidi and Brian Morgan, Gaylene and Bruce Taylor, Mrs Rosemary Eden and the Mason family.
Competition of the week, what is the weed’s name in this photo.  Control at least three sprays with Grazon, according to Stewart from Franklin Council.
Just add your answer to the comments section below.
( this photo also missing)

Hunters Road field trip 25-7-10

We had a total of 17 interested persons turn out for the perfect day at the Hunters Road reserve car park.
And what an interesting bunch of keen folk who turned up.
A guy from Pukekohe who is very experienced in south island possum trapping and monitoring, GPS and  who is willing to help map all our bird monitoring stations.
And some of the keen folk who could not make the Martyn Wright Road Field day on the previous Tuesday, those folk wish to learn.


The whole day had been ably planned by Dave Puflett and Andrew Sinclair and we were to visit four properties, which included the Hunters Bush Reserve, Lyn and Dave Hickey’s block that neighbours the reserve, Ian Laing’s and the Atkinson block, Gallagher’s Bush and Peter Hardy’s block (formerly a quarry that closed in 1928).
The major work done was bird monitoring, setting up some bait stations and working out the challenges these land owners face.

The picture below shows the team discussing  and debating the type of tree the bait station has been fastened to, which was agreed later as a Pukatea.
There is no use coming on a field trip unless you are prepared to learn and good debate enhances the learning experience.
(sorry photo missing)

The weather was perfect.
The standards of the bush blocks did vary. In some weed control was very good but it was noted that our number one enemy woolly nightshade was creating a few problems. as you can see below. We saw some minor infestations such as these and some really bad infestations of nightshade with gorse.

(sorry photo missing)

We finished just before lunch with muffins and banana cake at Peter Hardy’s unique bush block. Many thanks for your efforts Gaylene, the food was great.
Peter’s block was formerly a rock quarry that closed in 1928, so the bush is mostly regrowth, and is great. He has tracked it and also killed some exotic pine trees.
He is managing the gorse and woolly nightshade extremely well. And this block is right on the edge of Patumahoe village.

I am sure everybody enjoyed the day and this field trip. Thank you to the landowners who permitted us on their properties.