Posted By QEII National Trust | July 23, 2020

Last week our Gisborne regional representative Malcolm Rutherford spoke at the first Waimata Valley Catchment Group field day. The Waimata catchment has 330 hectares of covenanted land and another 70 hectares that are right on the edge of the catchment.   
Forty-five landowners and community members attended with a shared goal to learn and be involved in the restoration of the Waimata River catchment. The day featured discussions on a wide range of issues with planting and pest control to support native wildlife being a key topic of the day. The enthusiasm for pest control builds on the great success of Waikereru Ecosanctuary with the hopes of bringing back birdlife to the whole catchment. 

Originally planned to be a walk and talk, the wet weather changed this to a presentation on the biodiversity highlights of the Waimata Valley in the Waimata Community Hall.  “It was great to be able to discuss the benefits of biodiversity protection with a group of landowners, some of whom are covenantors already and have good biodiversity values on their farms. We discussed a range of things from bird life, and insects, to mycorrhizal fungi, and the social and mental health benefits of having a healthy forest” says Malcolm.  
Malcolm used QEII monitoring photopoints to show changes over time in areas where stock was fenced out and browser numbers have been limited. He also talked about how using online tools such as iNaturalist, and eBird can help us all participate in finding out what biodiversity is around us. 

Photopoint taken in February 2012
Photopoint taken February 2020

Other speakers included catchment group member and chair of the Longbush Ecological Trust, Dame Anne Salmond, who did a presentation about the Waimata Catchment Restoration Project. The project has been fortunate to receive funding for its first stage from the Erosion Control Funding Programme led by the Ministry for Primary Industries. This will enable fencing and riverside planting on seven properties within the catchment.  

Attendees also learnt about University of Auckland research being undertaken in the catchment and were shown how to set up tracking tunnels and the range of traps they can use for predator management initiatives. 

Whitehead popokatea. Photo credit: Malcolm Rutherford