May Regrouping at Rameka

May marks a significant anniversary for Rameka. It’s when the project first kicked off way back in 2008 and is generally the time for the Rameka AGM. Last year’s was delayed until September because of COVID, so only eight months on and it was time for another reflection on how the project is going. And so? In a nutshell, the Rameka carbon forest is going bloomin’ awesomely!

Of course, a trip to Rameka is never just about one thing. Jonathan (as the chair of the Rameka Incorporated Society) and Bronnie went across for six days, and spent the week of sunny days catching up with Rameka and the locals – of both the human and non-human varieties.

And it kicked off with a workparty to tidy up the start of the historic Rameka track from the Rameka cafe towards the pines.

Bronnie and Corrina showing how it’s done on the upper Historic Rameka track
Amy Thornborrow and her son Archie got stuck in to make the tracker easier to ride. They were having way too much fun for the job.
Marie Langley showed impressive form by walking up from the totara car park … and then walking back down again afterwards – a total of 10 km of walking not to mention the digging!
Ricky Ward, looking very happy with his section!
Jonathan took his time and was extra fussy with his section.
Bruce ‘the powerhouse’ Chick turned up, even though he’d just blasted through the Heaphy the day before and was absolutely trashed from that.
One of the things we like about this photos is all the trees beside the track were planted and are thriving now. They took a few years to get going though.
Here is Project Rameka secretary Amy Thornborrow test riding the section of track that we’d spent the morning rejuvinating.

But the week wasn’t just about the tracks. There was also a bit of time dedicated to checking in on tree plantings – weeding around little seedlings that had been swamped with rank grass and removing plant guards from trees that had shot up and away and no longer needed protecting.

When Ginny Woods rode Tour Aotearoa in 2016, she decided to use the opportunity to raise money for trees to go in on various projects around the Nelson Tasman area where she lived. At Rameka, we planted most of the trees Ginny donated in the area shown below, and as you can see, they are thriving. If Ginny were still with us, we’re sure she would be happy to see her small forest claimed by fantail, weka and robin.

Wineberry, mahoe and pittosporum were the packhorses planted in this area. Their rapid growth will help support the slower-growing natives, such as hinau and rimu that are tucked in amongst them.

Jonathan and Bronnie also spent time with pest control officer Matt Shoult, sorting out areas for the spring planting at the end of August. This year, we’ll be aiming to get back into a site that was damaged by a landslip after heavy rain many years ago. It’ll be good to get some plants in the scruffy bracken-filled area.

The weather continued to play ball and was warm enough to re-stain most of the Rameka Creek bridge – something that we need to do fairly regularly to keep the bridge in good condition.

Without traps and trappers, the stoats, weasels and rats would thrive. Instead, it is the weka, fantails, robin and ghecko that are thriving, and that’s in no small part to our diligent team of trappers Paul Kilgour and Fill and Albie Burgers. Jonathan and Bronnie spent an afternoon in the Burgers’ wonderful shed helping repair tired old traps. Fill and Albie will take the traps back up to the project next time they do their rounds.

Here are Fill and Albie Burgers and Jonathan repairing traps before taking them back into the hills.

We’ll be back in August for tree planting. Can’t wait!