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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
It was a week full of spectacular views, heaps of learning and hard but rewarding work.
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.
And there was even time for exploring the further reaches of the Bay.
Jonathan Kennett, Bronwen Wall, Simon Johnson and Karyn Burgess – Rameka settlors and trustees
Join us in funding the purchase of a regenerating forest next to Project Rameka in Golden Bay.
UPDATE: As at Friday 9 January, we’ve reached$315,000 in pledges. $420,000 goal. Just over a week to go.
We are off to a great start and have gained an assurance from the property’s owners that we will have first dibs on purchasing it. In fact, they have removed it from Trademe and given us until 19 January to raise funds.
For those who are concerned about climate change and would like to support turning this land into a carbon sink to pull pollution out of the atmosphere, this is an exciting opportunity. This land is ideal.
It also offers potential additional benefits of:
an extension to the historic Rameka Track all the way down to Takaka valley
a few hectares of orchard and pasture, as well as a possible dwelling at the bottom, which could be developed as a lifestyle block.
What’s so great about the land that’s for sale?
The majority of the land is cloaked in young native forest, which has the potential to grow fast and absorb carbon dioxide (CO2) from the atmosphere. Its protection would also increase the green corridor from the edge of Abel Tasman National Park to the DOC Scenic Reserve beside Rameka Creek.
Size: 50 hectares (46 hectares moderate to steep land above a pig-proof fence and 4 hectares below the fence on flat land)
Vegetation: Mostly regenerating native forest above a pig-proof fence, with some orchards and a little pasture at the bottom.
Outlook: Westerly aspect overlooking the Takaka valley.
Geology: This is karst country with cool limestone outcrops.
RV: $360,000 (asking price, over $400,000)
How much carbon dioxide?
35 hectares of native forest and 5 hectares of pine forest can pull over 400 tonnes of CO2 from the atmosphere every year.
This compares to an average carbon footprint (in NZ) of 18 tonnes of CO2being added to the atmosphere each year. (You can calculate your personal or family carbon footprint at www.carbonzero.co.nz). Your footprint might be much lower – Paul Kennett’s is 1 tonne per annum.)
Helping to ‘carbon sink’ 1 hectare for a one-off donation of around $10,000 would equate to 10 tonnes of your carbon emissions being absorbed each year for the rest of your life.
The property for sale also has the historic Rameka Track (an old pack route) going through it at a very gentle gradient. This track could be opened up for recreation purposes to connect Project Rameka with the Takaka valley (and would also be useful for pest control).
There are a few buildings on the bottom flat 5 hectares (below the pig proof fence), including a permitted ‘studio’, which has a garage, bathroom and workshop below, and expansive views from the top floor.
This would be a great base for working holidays.
Gateway to involvement
It is important that those involved with this land share similar views and motivations. The goal is primarily to mitigate climate change, with the added benefits of forest restoration and recreation.
This is not a conventional (ie, financial) investment opportunity – it is an environmental investment opportunity. The land would be added to Project Rameka and managed in accordance with those goals, covenanted (most likely with a QEII Covenant) and legally protected in perpetuity.
However, the future ownership and management of the 4 hectares below the pig-proof fence may work on a different basis, as this area suits being a lifestyle block more than a carbon sink. For example, the Trust might look at the possibility of selling an interest in that small lifestyle section of the land to recover some of the purchase costs, or might seek to buy the land with a third party who wants to own the lifestyle block.
Pledge $100 or more
Give this amount and you’ll be kept up to date with our progress and we’ll say THANK YOU on the Project Rameka blog. We will also give you a PFSI carbon credit equivalent to one tonne of CO2.
Pledge $1000 or more
This amount gives the land a great start by paying for a professional to spend a week on the property controlling pest species such as old man’s beard (which smothers regenerating forest) and wild pigs (which decimate plants growing at ground level). For this pledge, you will receive a Ground Effect fleece top embroidered with the Rameka logo, as well as a PFSI one tonne carbon credit.
Pledge $10,000 or more
Leave a legacy. This amount is enough to offset a modest-sized carbon footprint, every year, for the rest of your life, and beyond. With this awesome pledge, you will receive a native tree seedling and a special edition “Rameka Carbon Neutral” designer top, as well as five PFSI carbon credits.
Pledge $50,000 or more
This amount makes you a real carbon sink legend, so in addition to the rewards above we’d offer you the chance to become one of the Rameka trustees and take an active role in the management of the land (interview required to ensure we are all on the same page J).
19 December 2014 to 19 January 2015.
If you are interested, just reply now or before 19 January with an indication of how much you would like to pledge. We will keep in contact with regular fundraising updates.
If you have any questions, contact Jonathan Kennett, phone 027 284 5599 or email jonathan[at]kennett[dot]co[nz] or Bronwen Wall, email bronwen[at]wall[dot]net[dot]nz
To find out the latest on climate change from the most reliable sources, check out:
The trip began with a good bout of POD building, largely thanks to some new minds in the mix. Bronnie was a creative force of the highest level. John milled all of the framing timber and the exterior battens. Martin bought up just about everything else, and then Andy arrived with a bunch of tools and everyone pitched in.
Andy talked (mostly to himself) non stop. Whereas once John was working he hardly said a word, conserving all energy for thinking. Martin and Bronnie tried to keep out of trouble. Jonathan skived off with Matt to formulate a planting plan for August. It was madness until dark. Thank God we don’t have electricity. Everyone just had to settle down around the fire and recap the day’s building.
Then in the weekend we had a seriously big work party, with lots of progress. In fact all of the remaining damage from Cyclone Ita was cleaned up. There must have been around 60 pine trees across the tracks, so this was and incredible feat. The power of volunteers!
The latest we’ve heard is that the ‘good old boys’ up there for a night of pig hunting, caught Mr Piggles on the road, boxed him up and took him to Takaka for a night on the town. They soon discovered that he was owned by part time bouncer ‘Lewy’ and quickly returned him. But he’ll escape again, mark my words. What are we going to do with you Mr Piggles?
Sometimes it’s hard to tell how a thing is going to work out unless you just get on and build it.
In this case, Mark, Murray, Andrew and especially Jonathan were happy to just make it up as they went along. Bloody good fun!
Now at the end of the trip we thought “if just we had one more day…”
We were totally deluded. More on that later.