Carbon in – Oxygen out

With the addition of the new land, Project Rameka is now absorbing 3.8 tonnes of carbon dioxide every day. The total sequestered since the project began in 2008 is approaching 7000 tonnes.

To put that into a personal perspective, the average New Zealander has a carbon footprint of 18 tonnes emitted per annum. Of course, you are not average New Zealanders!

Climate Snapshot

While the scientific reports on climate change remain very serious, since the Paris Climate Talks in December last year there has been a political shift around the globe.

Greenhouse gas levels have risen to record levels and so have global temperatures. 2015 temperatures shot past the record levels of 2014, and now, with the help of El Niño, 2016 is set to be hotter again. Droughts, heatwaves and storms are impacting on food and water security as well as having a massive range of other environmental effects. Just as some countries are particularly unlucky (right now, Zambia, New Mexico, and Australia to name a few), others are very lucky. Perhaps at the top of the latter list is New Zealand, which will be one of the last countries this century to experience an average temperature increase over the notable 2-degree limit.

Possibly that is one reason why New Zealand continues to lag behind most other countries when it comes to introducing effective policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. But we live in a globalised world, and change, both of the climate and our government’s policies, can only lag so far. Meanwhile, at Project Rameka we will continue to Make Good Shit Happen!


Last August, we had another great tree planting week, with 600 native species planted in their new homes. These include northern rata from DOC as well as lemonwood, kohuhu, beech, kaka beak, rimu and miro. It’s great to report that these trees are flourishing at Project Rameka!

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Come along and join us for the 2016 tree planting. You would be most welcome.

We will be meeting at 10am on the 20 and 21 August at the top entrance to Project Rameka, which is on Rameka Creek Road, approximately 10 km from Takaka township.

Rameka Campaign Success

On Christmas Eve 2015, after a long campaign involving fundraising, negotiations and legal approvals, 45 hectares of land was added to Project Rameka, almost doubling the area under protection (now 98 hectares).

Second Block boundary map v02

The results are an increase in carbon dioxide being sequestered, a broader range of native species under protection and eventually the reopening of a spectacular 3 km section of the historic Rameka Track.

Rameka Carbon Forest boundary (Large)
Pete Simm leads people to the new land, which is in the background of this photo.

On behalf of the Project Rameka committee, we would like to thank the 60 people, from as far afield as Christchurch and Auckland, who chipped in and made the land purchase possible. Your generosity has resulted in environmental and recreation benefits that will last well beyond your lifetimes.

The generous supporters are:
Amanda Dobson,
Amy Austin,
Andrew Carman,
Jo Mackenzie,
Andrew Smith,
Ann & Phil Kendon,
Ann-Louise Metcalfe,
BMC MTB Gurran,
Brent Morris,
Bridget McMillan & Craig Tolson,
Bronwen Wall & Jonathan Kennett,
Catherine Hill,
Catherine Jewett,
Charles & Michelle Dawson,
Christian Williams,
Christopher Bennett,
Christopher Dempsey,
Dave Rudge & Jenny Cassie,
David Halliday,
Dean Johansson,
Dene Waters,
Evan McCarney & Liz Keller,
Geoff Plimmer,
Ginny Wood,
Ground Effect,
Guy Trainer & Deborah Morris,
Helen Scott,
Henry Fisher,
Janet Holmes,
Janne Halonen,
Jean Wignall,
Jean-Marie O’Donnell,
John Kempster,
Karyn Burgess,
Kate Ford,
Kate Potter,
Mandy & Simon Holdstock,
Mark & Glenda Allinson,
Maryann Nesbitt,
Murray Drake,
Paul Bruce,
Paul Kennett & Michelle Ducat,
Paul Nichols,
Paul Shepherd,
Perrine Gilkison,
Peter Leslie,
Peter Mcllroy & Janet Hayward,
Phaedra Upton,
Phil & Sue Shoemack,
Raewyn Gainsford & Graeme Lindup,
Richie Singleton & Laura McKim,
Robert Ashe,
Robin Dawson & David Bennett,
Robin Quigg,
Ruth McDavitt,
Shona Drake,
Simon Johnson,
The Kennett Brothers,
Simon Kennett,
Simon Minto & Bryony Walker,
Sonja Mitchell,
Stuart Palmer,
Tim Galloway,
Tim McMains,
Tony Baldwin, and
Vera Burgess.

November at Rameka

In the first week of November 2015, Jonathan, Bronnie and Simon Johnson headed down to Rameka with this year’s American interns from the HECUA New Zealand programme – Olivia Thorp and Hardt Bergmann. The agenda was to:

  • release the trees planted in August
  • take part in the DOC Conservation Week trapping workshop
  • tidy up a couple of unrideable corners on The Odyssey
  • clean up Great Expectations.

And time was built in to show our US visitors the highlights of the Bay.

Bronnie, Olivia, Simon and Hardt celebrate creating a new sitting platform at the entrance to Rameka
Bronnie, Olivia, Simon and Hardt celebrate creating a new sitting platform at the entrance to Rameka

This was the first time Olivia and Hardt had been to New Zealand and probably the first time they’d spent any time taking care of a forest restoration project. We asked them to share their thoughts:

Hardt and I spent seven tiring but adventurous days in Rameka Carbon Forest with Jonathan Kennett, Bronwen Wall, and Simon Johnson. On Saturday, we packed ourselves along with a week’s worth of supplies, tools, and traps into Jonathan’s tiny Ford Mondeo and made our way up to the Lorax Lair at the top of the hill.

A weka sprints past the fire place at the Lorax Lair
Weka rule at the Lorax Lair

We quickly grew to love this place and its quirky features, especially the wood-fired bathtub on the edge of the hill. Built by locals who often visit the lair, it was a great way to unwind after a hard day’s work!

Our first full day out we participated in a trapping workshop run by DOC, along with many other locals from the Golden Bay area to discuss pest control, particularly of possums, rats, and stoats.

Trapping workshop at Rameka November 2015
Volunteers from Golden Bay gathered at the Totara Car Park for a trapping workshop

After the workshop, about 15 volunteers headed up to clear 150m of the severely overgrown original historic Rameka Track. This track was built in the 1890s as an access route between Takaka and Tasman Bay. Once the main road was built, the pack track was pretty much abandoned, sections fell into disrepair and over time disappeared beneath plant growth. We aimed to change that!

Jonathan sets a trap on the 'new' Historic Pack Track.
Jonathan sets a trap on the ‘new’ Historic Pack Track.

We spent the next several days setting up traps for possums in hopes of helping the native flora and fauna to flourish.

When we weren’t setting up traps, we were weeding around the native trees Bronnie, Jonathan, Simon, and others had planted the year before or working on the Odyssey and Great Expectations tracks, the two mountain bike tracks that run through Rameka. This work involved clearing overgrown trees and tidying up a particularly rough switchback to make it more rideable.

Hardt Bergmann stands on a switchback before starting work to make it more rideable, The Odyssey, November 2015
Hardt at the same corner after working on it.
And the finished product – satisfaction plus!

It was a week full of spectacular views, heaps of learning and hard but rewarding  work.

An August Pilgrimage to Rameka

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Contributors express how they really feel about being part of Rameka during an excursion to Farewell Spit.

By August, the necessary funding had been secured and negotiations were well down the track for purchasing the land to add to the Rameka carbon forest. Yeeha! It was time to show everyone what their contributions were going towards.

Jonathan hired a bus and accommodation at a backpackers in Takaka township for a week of exploration and celebration – and the contributors responded in kind. From Christchurch, Mapua, Wellington and Masterton, for one night to seven days, the size of the group ebbed and flowed as work commitments allowed.

We started by meeting in Mapua to help the locals plant a roadside reserve, then after fish and chips at the wharf (in brilliant sunshine of course! What else could you expect from a visit to Mapua?), we continued over the hill for our first sighting of the new-look Rameka.

The next day, Sunday, was totally committed to the land. We planted and explored both the new block and the existing Rameka.

The start of the working week meant that many of the troops had to say goodbye and return to their working lives, but they were replaced by others! Over the rest of the week, we planted more trees – concentrating on rata from Project Crimson this time, worked with neighbours to put in a new waterpipe and cleared some of the historic Rameka pack track on the new block of land.

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Sonja Mitchel and Paul Bruce attack the blackberry and Himalayan honeysuckle with aplomb.It wasn’t easy work, but somehow, Sonja and Paul managed to make it look like a ball!
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One of the easier sections; a zigzag remnant of the original Rameka pack track, originally built in the late 1800s.

And there was even time for exploring the further reaches of the Bay.

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Farewell Spit on a sunny winter’s afternoon