Author Archives: kathryn


Sunday 26 October

It seems to be a matter of one step forward and two backwards when it comes to clearing this nasty weed.  We revisited areas where we had previously cleared tradescantia to find that it was at least ankle deep over the top of the weed mat we had put in place.  Nik and I made an early start and spent 5 hours working on the Harvey’s wetland area.  We were joined by Richard Taylor who helped Nik to empty out one of the weed bags which was full of great compost.  With Richard’s help we filled about 6 garden rubbish bags and plan to purchase more large weed bags which can remain in situ.  Richard Taylor spotted a large centrepede under one of the weed bags which was cradling some eggs.  By the time I had my camera ready it had let go of the eggs and retreated into a hole.

20141026_105225 (2)centipede_and_eggs_26_oct_2014








Sunday 2 November

Spent 4 hours spraying pampas and clearing Japanese honeysuckle covering trees at the bottom of Mt Pleasant Drive.

Weeding – Harvey’s

Richard Taylor, Jo and Sue Evans spent two hours weeding around the plants on the Harvey’s property.

The Tradescantia has become established again and we plan to meet during Labour Weekend to carry out further weeding in this area.

Two more stoats

Picture of stoat trap

Stoat in trap

Chris and I spent Sunday morning, 12/10/14,  checking the stoat traps and refilling the bait stations.

We were amazed to find all the bait had been taken in 3 weeks and were delighted to add two more stoats to our tally – a total of 4 this year on our property.

Chris dealing with dead stoat

Chris dealing with dead stoat

It is hard to know whether this is a credit to our stoat-catching skills or an indication of how many stoats exist in the valley.  However, we have increased our efforts in recent months and feel sure the bird chorus is louder.

The afternoon was spent weeding; in particular removing a large amount of asparagus fern which was becoming established along one section of the BNZ Track.  Cotoneaster was also targeted at the bottom of Mt Pleasant Drive, along with other weeds including pampas and wilding pines.


Auckland Council Reps, Baiting and Setting Stoat traps

Nik and I met with Dave Galloway and Rebecca Kemp0 from Auckland Council who provided us with advice regarding weed and pest control and provided us with a variety of traps, including the temporary loan of a myna trap.  The preferred bait is apparently popcorn.  We had no success with our first attempt at trapping mynas but hope to be more successful with future trapping efforts.

In the afternoon we eco-sourced sedges and planted them along the stream edges along with some split flaxes.

We have added one more stoat to our tally (rather hard to identify in this photograph).

Auckland Council RepresentativesBaitingStoat

Wetland Area weeding/transplanting 22/9/14 – 23/9/14

The wetland area behind the Brown Cottage had been sprayed in preparation for planting earlier on in the year.  Due to limited rain, planting was postponed and then our attentions were focused on other pr0jects.  Nik and I set to work clearing the area by hand/spade, splitting sedges and flaxes and eco-sourcing plants from our property.

Before weeding behind brown cottage

After weeding Brown cottage



The main established weeds were Deadly Nightshade and Queen of the Night and follow-up work will be needed.  Jasmine is also starting to re-sprout along the concrete driveway.

Nik met with Dave Wilson from DoC and took him on a walk through the valley.  Dave was able to provide some helpful information regarding pest plants.

Competing with Pukekos

Despite a stormy start to the day, 8 volunteers braved the elements and ventured down the muddy paddocks towards the border of the TFS planting site on Mike and Fiona Francis’ property.  The first hour was spent digging and splitting flaxes; not an easy task with such well established plants.  Anita spotted a large number of cabbage tree seedlings under one of the apple trees in the orchard and some of them were dug up and transplanted.  By 1.00pm we had filled most of the gaps.  Mike will be keeping a close eye on the local pukeko population in the hope they won’t pull up any more plants.  It was a most enjoyable morning with lots of laughter and very changeable weather – including sunshine and a brief hail storm!  Mike’s special hamburgers went down a treat after the morning’s efforts.

Thanks to our volunteers Neil and Cheryl Sutherland, Richard Taylor, Niklas, Anita and to Mike and Fiona for a most enjoyable working bee.

Cabbage Trees and FlaxesSplitting Flaxes

Planting Mike and Fiona

That afternoon, Nik and I planned to plant an area at the bottom of Mt Pleasant Drive but unfortunately our spraying efforts three weeks earlier had been unsuccessful and the area will need to be resprayed.  We met with members of the Auckland Council to discuss the best plan of action.  6 large cabbage trees and 8 flaxes were transplanted.


Working Bee

Sunday’s weeding and planting day at the top of the valley was a huge success.   It was a gorgeous day and thanks to 18 volunteers (including members of the Leigh Coastal Care group) we made considerable progress clearing weeds, eco-sourcing and replanting alongside the stream.  Many thanks to Trish and Arthur Gundy for a delicious BBQ lunch.  Thanks also to Nola and John Harvey for the bottles of ‘Black Stilt’ Riesling, Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris from their vineyard in North Otago.  These excellent wines went down a treat with all the volunteers.
Nik dug up a small fish from the soil (over a metre from the stream).  For a moment with thought he had unearthed the threatened Mudfish but it turned out to be a Banded Kokopu, which probably made its way into the soil after being dragged out of the stream with some tradescantia.  Nik had initially mistaken it for a slug so it was lucky to survive. Cheryl also located a kauri snail.
The next planting day will be held on Sunday, 21 September on Mike and Fiona Francis’s property, Cape Rodney Rd (previously Mrs Wainwright’s).  Unfortunately we have lost a number of plants which failed the ‘Pukeko test’ and a few more were lost due to the drought so we need to fill in the gaps and continue planting further downstream.
Before weeding

Before weeding

After weeding

After weeding

Mud fish just after being dug out of soil

Muddy Banded Kokopu just after being dug out of soil

Mud fish after a wash in the stream

Banded Kokopu after a wash in the stream

Kauri snail

Kauri snail

Progress in the valley

On Thursday, 25 April, Arthur Gundy and 2 contractors, cleared all the transcantia from around the waterfall area at the top of the catchment area.  On Sunday 27 April Arthur, Jo Evans, Nola Harvey and I spent 3 hours clearing weeds further downstream.

Another successful weeding day was held on Sunday, 29 June on Julie Turner’s property.  Our new neighbours Mike and Francis attended, along with Sue Gibbings, Jo Evans, Richard Taylor and Arthur Gundy.  Further planting will be necessary once the kikuya has been sprayed.

Before weeding 29/6/14

Before weeding 29/6/14


Wetland Weeding

While the turn-out of volunteers wasn’t that great, we had a very worthwhile weeding effort with the guys from Biosecurity Services on Sunday, 23 March and worked for 3 ½ hours clearing a number of weeds from the wetland area behind the brown cottage.

Thanks to Neil and Cheryl Sutherland for all their hard work.  Neil and Cheryl have been waging a war against weeds in Leigh for a number of years and are the founders of the Leigh Coastal Care group.   It is thank to their efforts the coastal walkway is maintained on a regular basis.  Their main focus has been controlling moth plant which they are able to spot a mile away.  They have a wonderful community spirit.

Thanks to Nola Harvey who attended for the first time.  John Harvey understandably decided to stay behind after a couple of nasty encounters with wasps although we hope to see him in the bush in the not too distant future, heavily clad in protective gear!  Thanks also to Chris Erikson and Pete Watkinson. 

We look forward to some wet weather so we can start planting the areas we have cleared.

Spraying and Weeding TFS Plants – Wainwrights

Chris and I spent 2 hours spraying and weeding the remaining TFS plants.

Unfortunately approximately 100 plants on the north eastern corner of the wetland area have not survived (or disappeared).

This particular area was quite boggy when planting took place on 29 September and the majority of plants were very small.

It is possible they failed the Pukeko pull test.  While there were a few dead plants, the others appeared to have disappeared, with only the stakes remaining.