Crazy May

This May Bronnie and Jonathan cycled over to Takaka for a varied week at, and around, the Project. They rode via the Maungatapu Track, Richmond, Moutere Valley, Takaka Hill and East Takaka.

Takaka-Summit

Jonathan and Bronnie, just about to descend into the mists of Golden Bay.

The first real work was helping Phil Castle and others to gravel part of the new Takaka Cycleway. Phil and Woulter have been working on this for years now, and their motto is clearly ‘Quality not Quantity’. Their long term plan is to have a grade 1 cycleway running parallel to the Takaka River for many kilometres.

Takaka-Cycleway
Jonathan, Phil Castle, Stuart, Woulter and other keen diggers at the Takaka Cycleway.

The following day Martin and Marie Langley, Chloe and Reuben, Simon Johnson and Bronnie and Jonathan had a great work party where we checked over 1000 of the trees planted last year. They are looking pretty good, with over 90% surviving so far. They still have to get through winter though.

Chloe-and-Rueben
Chloe and Reuben heading off for a couple of laps of Great Expectations, after helping weed last years planted trees.

Over the next few days Jonathan, Bronnie and Simon built a lean-too shelter, fenced off the lower farm track and extended the Historic Rameka Trail to the start of the Odyssey. We only did a very narrow cut and will widen it out next time we are there (August for tree planting).

BW-on-historic-rameka

Bronnie having a ball on the Historic Rameka Trail.

The final day was set aside for the AGM, a low key, highly efficient meeting, where much chocolate cake was eaten. The Chairs report is below.

Project Rameka Chair’s Report
27 April 2010

What a brilliant year for Project Rameka! In the last 12 months we have planted 1250 trees, opened a new track and killed countless furry animals. The forest is flourishing and the project is being appreciated by hoards of visitors. This is only possible because of the volunteer work and donations of it’s members. Thank you for your support.

This report briefly summarises the achievements of the last year. For more details, you can check out http://rameka.carbonforest.nz/

Tracks
The top 2.3 km of Great Expectations was opened on 22 November 2009, and has been greatly enjoyed by hundreds of riders. A big thanks to everyone who carved this track out of the hillside, especially Ricky and Patrick Ward, who did most of the trail blazing and Martin Langley, who led dozens of work parties. Since November, the track has been improved in many places, and Ricky has begun design on the lower section.

Maintenance will be a big issue on the track for the next few years, until the trees grow up and shade out weeds. I’d like to acknowledge the work Matt Shoult has done to control the weeks on the sides of Great Expectations and the road.

Most visitors at Project Rameka are passing through for the first time, so it is very helpful to have signposts at all the intersections. Many thanks to Marie Langley for the funky signs. Soon we hope to have a notice board at the top of Great Expectations, designed by Chloe Langley, and paid for by Nikki Ryan from Harcourts.

Under the leadership of Brent Hartshorne, work has also started on a second track called The Odyssey. As the name indicates, it will provide experienced riders with a challenge, as well as opening up part of Project Rameka for pest control.
Pest Control
Once again Matt Shoult has done an outstanding job of hammering pest animals and plants. Without this work the restoration of the forest would be held back by introduced animals that eat plants, and kill birds, which perform pollination and seed transporting services. The rough tally for the last year is:

32 Pigs shot (GOOD SHOW!)
36 Stoats trapped (TERRIBLY HIGH NUMBER!)
17 Rats trapped (LOTS MORE POISONED AS WELL)

An untold number of rats and possums have been poisoned with feretox. This feretox poisoning is important, because if the number of rats is kept low then stoats are less likely to be attracted to Project Rameka. Also, rats eat not only birds, but also hoover up masses of native seeds.

The high number of pigs shot is of concern. It may be time to consider a pig trap, smack bang in the middle of their HIGHWAY GULLY.

Highest performing trap kill was by Andrew McLellan – two stoats in one trap!

Also, thanks to those that hand weeded the 1500 seedlings on Project Rameka, especially Bronnie Wall, Simon Johnson, Marie Langley and my good self. This job was made much easier by the 1000 tree guards generously paid for by Simon Kennett and Sarah Drake. As one DOC officer in Takaka exclaims, Tree guards have revolutionised forest restoration in Golden Bay.

Matt has also dealt to a number of highly invasive weeds such as banana passionfruit and old man’s beard. I would encourage everyone to keep an eye out for these terrible weeds.

Climate Change and the Trust
The foundation for Project Rameka is it’s role as a forest carbon sink. It is the most effective way of fighting climate change that Bronnie and Jonathan could think of.

Late 2009, most of the property was entered into the Permenant Forest Sink Initiative (PFSI), run by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (MaF). This work was done by Trustee Simon Johnson. As part of our contract with MaF, the forest (this includes any trees with potential to grow over 5 metres tall) is now legally protected.

This scheme should provide the Rameka Trust with funds for rates and other property related expenses.

The amount of CO2 sequestered from the atmosphere by Project Rameka is around 500 tonnes per annum. Although this is great news, there is also pollution associated with the project that we would like kept to a minimum, by encouraging people to:

· Travel by land to the project, rather than flying to Nelson or Takaka,
· Cycle up Rameka Creek Road or Great Expectations rather than shuttling,
· Purchase local goods from local businesses wherever possible.
Native Forest Restoration
1250 trees were planted last winter (August 2009) and most of these had plant guards put around them. The result is an exceptional survival rate (around 96%).

Volunteers from Wellington and Golden Bay were joined by students from Golden Bay High School and Motupipi Primary School. This made the tree planting experience both frantic and fun. We hope to do the same again this August.

For donations contributing to the restoration of native forest, we would like to thank Rose Wall, Ginny Wood, Rameka Trust, Rob Lewis from The Landscape Company, and Tim from Titoki Nursary. Also Phil Castle who turned up out of the blue with 50 flax he had dug out of his backyard, and stayed to see them all planted. And Karyn Burgess from Masterton, who spent her birthday planting trees at Rameka.

Also, special thanks must go to Fill and Albie Burgers for once again fortifying tree planting troops with their wonderful homemade bread and soup. Yum!

· We are again looking for donations of flax to be dug out of people’s backyards.

Volunteer Accommodation
The Lorax Lair has continued to be used by Project Rameka members as a base for volunteer work. The water supply can be problematic, but now we have two tanks and there is always enough to cook and wash dishes with at the very least.

A big thanks to John Michel for donating a toilet, and Andy Cole and his friends, who installed it, and Simon, Bronnie and Patrick in particular for digging the pit (estimated to be good for 3000 dumps!). Also Jo and Andrew painted it, and Simon and Sarah paid for materials. Gosh! What a lot of interest in such a small, yet popular, building.

Committee
I would like to thank everyone on the committee, especially those with two crucial roles. Marie Langley has been a fantastic secretary, and the committee has appreciated her efforts in moving things along smoothly (especially with the Charities Commission!). Likewise, Seamus Ryan has been invaluable in keeping Project Rameka on the financial straight and narrow. Every donation and membership fee has been used with the utmost care and consideration.

To everyone who has been involved in whatever form, on behalf of Project Rameka, I thank you and hope to see you on the project soon.

Jonathan Kennett
Project Rameka Incorporated Chair

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