Matariki Weekend June 2022

On the Friday of the first public holiday acknowledging Matariki over 40 volunteers gathered to begin planting 1000 native trees around the Kopua Wetland. We began with a Matariki Waiata sung by Hinekawa Munday. This waiata featured all nine stars in the cluster. After introductions we moved to the planting area with an A Rocha group from Wellington and Manawatu planting a southern hillside and a group from Hokianga and Dannevirke planting the Northern hillside. Those more comfortable on level ground planted the many grasses and flaxes and kahikatea around the wetland itself.

Not everyone was featured in the photo to the left. One group did some early morning sightseeing and others joined us later in the morning. By the end of the day over 980 native trees had been planted.

Left foreground

Sybil and Jim Gibson planting a 2.5m Kahikatea. South facing hill and wetlands at back.

Over 214 volunteer hours were spent planting the 1000 native trees provided by (Horizon’s Regional Council) as part of the Manawatu River Leaders Accord, Com- munity Project Application. In seven previous working bees 2021/2022 104 volunteer hours had been spent clearing blackberry, spanish broom , willow and other introduced native plants. Weed trees had been felled to give space to plant the natives. As well as trees Horizon’s has also provided funding for 20 traps to catch rats, stoats, opossum that predate on local native birds and eat the native invertebrates such as puriri , weta and native seeds. A 12 month roster is being formed for volunteers to check this trapline once a month, replenish any trap with bait and record the results.

Kopua Associates acknowledge the vital support from Father Nicho and the Monastic Community including companions, A Rocha (Wellington and Manawatu), Members Associated with Panguru Parish, Hokianga (with Rev Fr Maliu ‘Otutaha and Sessi ‘Otutaha),Parishioners from St Joseph’s Parish (Dannevirke), Steve Munday and whanau, Andre Jacobs and Philip Barker (Freshwater Advisor—Horizons Regional Council).

Father Maliu and Steve Munday at work clearing a large native beech tree that had fallen over a seat.

How will we measure progress?

  • A five minute bird count done regularly is an excellent way to determine the success of a habitat restoration. This process involved listening, watching and then recording the name of any birds identified in the 5 minutes. A record is also made of the location, weather details and date and time. It is expected that as the trapline is managed there will progressively be an improvement to the numbers and types of native birds identified at
  • Another measure of progress is the prevalence at Kopua of New Zealand’s largest moth –the Puriri. Its distribution is only in the North Island and it was once more commonly seen at Kopua in September through to November. We were able to plant 8 Puriri trees. It is hoped that visitors will experience these beautiful moths more often in the future.

The above photo was taken on (late) Saturday afternoon 25th June , after the trees had been planted and the wider area cleared of dead branches/fallen trees. To the right is an area covered in some blackberry which we have sought funding to remove and then plant out in trees on Queen’s Birthday 2023. A five- minute bird count was done here to add to our archives.

Please contact Mike Stone for information about working bees in the future or assisting with managing the trapline.

Check out working bee newsletters on under “Kopua-the Place.”