Christmas buzz at Rameka

In a desperate attempt to escape the horror of Wellington at Christmas time, Jonathan and Bronnie headed for Project Rameka. Talk about swinging from one extreme to the other! Rameka was the quietest we have ever seen it – just what we needed after a very busy year.

Apart from sleeping, reading and soaking in the ‘panorama bath’, we did make a few improvements to the project.

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Here is Bronnie checking out one of the new notice boards, which Martin installed and we helped finish off. We are about to head down Kahikatea Gully to weed all the trees there. It needed doing, but was actually quite easy this time as Murray, Ginny, Matt and Jonathan has weeded them only a month ago. The trees are looking great, especially the Rimu!

 

 


And here is a particularly fine photo of Brent Hartshorne taking measurements on the Odessy. Progress is slow on this track, as the main efforts are being put into extending Great Expectations. Also, Brent has been busy working on opening several hundred metres of the historic Rameka Trail above Project Rameka, AND on building a NEW trail beside Rameka Creek. It’s all go in the Rameka Valley!

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However, while new tracks have been built, the first section of Great Expectations has become a bit overgrown and rutted in places, so Bronnie and Jonathan gave the roughest sections some TLC.

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The biggest Christmas buzz though was the purchase of another 48 hectare property for restoration and recreation purposes in Golden Bay. Phil Castle and Beth Burdett popped the champagne on their exciting new project just before Christmas. It’s been a difficult purchase, but one well worth it as the property on Motupipi Hill (between Takaka and Pohara) has significant biodiversity potential, and there are already several existing tracks, so providing walking and cycling opportunities will be straight forward. Phil and Beth have set up a trust, and Jonathan is honoured to be one of the trustees. No doubt we will hear more about Motupipi Hill in the New Year!

Tree Planting at Project Rameka, 2010

In August 2010 there were 600 native seedlings safely put into the ground at Project Rameka. The main aim was to add biodiversity by planting some species that aren’t there anymore (ie, Kahikatea) and to plant the track sides so that eventually the native trees will shade out prickly gorse and barberry.

As in 2009, the Motupipi Primary School and Golden Bay High School came along an made it a fun day.

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Patrick Ward and friends made fast work of planting 200 trees. Good on you!

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And we also managed to fit in a bit of track work, including building a bridge with Ricky Ward on the lower section of Great Expectations. Martin Langley and Ricky and many other volunteers have made great work of extending this track so that there will be another section open for walking and cycling this summer.

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On this trip Bronnie and Jonathan decided to cycle up the Rameka Track and out to Nelson via Canaan Downs. It was a lovely ride, but we started to run out of time and had to bust-a-gut to get to the shuttle by 3pm. Just need to be a bit fitter next time!

Newsflash! Time to Get Down and Get Dirty

That’s right. Planting season is upon us at Project Rameka. For anyone who wants to feel connection with the dirty in a soothing, less abrupt way than falling off your bike, now’s the chance to do so – feel free to join us for any of the sessions listed below.
Tree planting will be happening on the Project during the week of 16 to 22 August. We kick off with a planting session with the young-uns from Motupipi School (thanks Seamus for organising that) and seniors from Golden Bay High School (and likewise to you Pat too) on Friday 20 August and follow this up with more planting on Saturday 21 in the morning and a bit of track work on Great Expectations in the afternoon. If the weather is bad on the Friday, we’ll be expecting to plant a bit harder on the Saturday.
All sessions will have a 10 am start time.
Anyone with queries is welcome to phone Jonathan on 027 284 5599, but otherwise, we hope you can join us at some stage. There will be a barbeque at the Project on the Saturday at lunchtime.
Thanks also go to Matt Shoult for preparing the areas to be planted.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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

March Updates

13 to 21 March

Yet another busy week at Project Rameka …

had Bronnie, Jonathan and Simon on their knees, weeding over 1,000 trees. Plant survival is incredible, with no small thanks to Marie and Matt for timely releasing over spring and summer:

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keeping in touch with some Aussie overstayers …

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while Brent, Martin, Bronnie, Simon J, Andrew, Rob, Ryan, and Brett made in-roads on the Odessy (soon followed by Jo and Simon K, not to mention the man behind the camera, Jonathan):

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and Simon biffed some gorse (highly recommended for caber-tossing training):

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But let’s not forget the fun stuff. Great Expectations is living up to its name with locals and visitors alike buffing up the track nicely. And work continues! Next summer could well see the track heading further down-valley. Watch this space.

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The McLellan/Mackenzie tribe stayed a further week on the Project and painted the toilet (thanks Jake and Morag) as well as trapping a number of possums, stoats and rats.

The latest innovation from DOC, causing excitement in pest control circles, two Henry traps are now being trialled on the project. These suckers aim to kill rats, stoats and weasels and reset themselves in an instant. The jury is out but we’ll keep you posted on how they go.