Conservation

Team Mahitahi Blog

Coming fresh from the source

Project Mahitahi was launched almost one year ago now, and so much work has happened in the catchment already. Project Mahitahi has planted 30,000 native plants, hosted six community events, undertaken weed control over more than 26 hectares of land, and employed 32 people working across six different host employers

 

What is Project Mahitahi? 

Project Mahitahi is a collaborative project aimed at restoring the ecological health of the forest ecosystems of the Maitai / Mahitahi / Maitahi catchment. By controlling pest plant and animal invaders to a level that will give our native biodiversity a better chance of surviving, and supplementing these areas with planting, we aim to support a thriving bio-corridor. The work required to do this is extensive and will take years beyond the life of this Project, but this is certainly a good start!

 

What the team have been up to this month?

The Upper Groom Creek area has been due for a makeover, and we are scheduled to plant at least 10,000 natives there in 2022! We have started to clear weeds from the site in preparation for the planting. The site has been full of blackberry and old man’s beard, which is not a good time for anyone! Weeds will be under control within the planting area ready for planting by winter 2022.

Significant pest plant control and restoration planting has taken place within the Ngati Koata Trust’s Pene Amine Restoration Project wetland area (formally Sharlands Creek), with focus at present on aftercare of the plantings which are looking fantastic so far.

 

New staff training and employment:

Since the Project began, approximately 22 people have been employed by Kūmānu across the various sub-projects (with Project Mahitahi employing 40 people in total and 32 people in roles as of the end of October 2021). People who have left the Project have moved on to more permanent or more senior roles within conservation, which reflects one of the aims of Jobs for Nature.

We have new staff onboard including three NMIT students for the summer! These students will be focusing on practical weed control training, plant ID, internal trap checking and resetting training, scrub bar use and basic chainsaw practice

Harison Manning and Rosie Russel, employed as Project Mahitahi Conservation Rangers, are the newest members of the team. They have been busy getting trained in Growsafe training, first aid, LUV training, and lots of internal training focusing on weed control methods, scrub bar use, planting aftercare, trap checking and resetting, pest and native plant ID, setting up new traplines, monitoring of predators, enhancing their skills in the awesome, fun, rewarding and diverse field of conservation.

 

Other Interesting Stuff - Predator control:

In addition to weed control and restoration planting, predator control is a key part of Project Mahitahi, with the Project Mahitahi team currently involved in three Predator Trapping projects.

The Project Mahitahi Field Staff have been working really hard to establish a trapping network within the Brook Reserve, adjacent to the Brook Waimārama Sanctuary (BWS). The aim of this project is to create additional habitat with low predator abundance within the Nelson Halo for BWS birds to use. Almost all of the traps are in place and the traps will be set by the end of the month.

Tieke/Saddleback have recently been released into the BWS and have been spotted within the Brook Valley Holiday Park, outside the safety of the sanctuary. Project Mahitahi staff have set up a network of traps on behalf of Nelson City Council within the Holiday Park to help protect these birds from predation.

Predator trapping is also being carried out within a site up the Maitai with the aim to support a population of a very special native and has been going well, with nearly 73 possums, 79 rats and 4 mustelids trapped since May 2021.

 Possum and Ungulate control is ongoing in the upper Maitai carried out by staff employed by Fulton Hogan under Project Mahitahi Jobs. So far over 1100 possums have been trapped and over 60 goats and deer shot!

Looking for a conservation partner for your next project? Contact Nelmac on 0800 635 622 to learn more.

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