Laying the gravel at Waitaia Track entrance
Image: Jo Fearn | DOC

Introduction

The summer volunteer programme in the Coromandel got off to a great start and there are lots more actvities to come.

Date:  09 January 2018

Track bash on Waitaia Track

The programme got underway on 2 December 2017, with a ‘track bash’ event held at the Waitaia track in Kuaotunu.

Kim Lawry and 20 of his language students from the Coromandel Outdoor Language Centre, along with another couple of locals, were waiting and raring to go at 10 am.

Volunteers building steps.
Volunteers building steps
Image: Jo Fearn | DOC

The track bash event included upgrading the track entrance by increasing the depth of the gravel laid during a previous event. This aims to safeguard the young kauri at the track entrance. Upgrading tracks to eliminate muddy sections helps protect kauri roots and prevent the spread of kauri dieback.

Other tasks involved replacing old steps, trimming vegetation and removing debris from the path.

The students were split into several groups and given their tasks. Around 8 tonnes of gravel, delivered to the site entrance, needed to be moved into position along the track to the new steps. Thankfully, a power barrow and the very fit and enthusiastic students meant that it wasn't long before the pile was reduced considerably!

The step building group did an amazing job, all working together, chattering, singing and laughing. It made the task an enjoyable one and the result was 10 very impressive new steps. This will make the walk a lot easier in these previously uneven areas.

The vegetation trimming and path clearing crew did an excellent job too. It was so lovely to hear the conversations with all the different accents as they talked about their home countries.

The event culminated in well-earned refreshments for everyone, with lots of tired but happy volunteers. It was amazing to see what can be achieved in such a short time with lots of willing helpers.

Removing climbing asparagus at Whitianga Rock

The second event, held at Whitianga Rock on 9 December 2017, drew a small but dedicated group of local volunteers.

The weather was warm but the work not too taxing on this occasion. It involved releasing climbing asparagus (Asparagus scandens) from trees within the reserve and laying it on the ground.

The most efficient way of permanently removing this invasive weed from an area is to spray it with herbicide at ground level. A contractor will carry out this work in the near future.

While a lot of work has already taken place tackling weed species in this area, there is still much to do. We heard from the newly formed Ferry Landing Conservation Group, who are keen to really make a difference in this iconic location.

It has been a great start to this programme of events and there are lots more activities still to come over coming months. So, if you are up visiting the Coromandel over the summer period, make sure to check out our activities!

Bring the kids, bring the family and enjoy getting stuck into conservation in our beautiful part of the country!

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