This has been an eventful and milestone year for our conservation project.
Earlier in the year, after cutting wilding pines in the Rings Beach valley a steep drop was revealed on a rocky, uneven and narrow stretch of the track.
With the efforts of Walkway Solutions, who carried out the successful upgrade to the Matarangi track some time ago, and with helicopter transport of their equipment, a repair was effected making that area safer for walkers. This was generously funded by a number of community minded Matarangi residents for which we are grateful.
In July we received the second tranche of the Waikato Regional Council funding, $40,000 to pay for the ongoing wilding pine felling program which in time will eliminate pines from the reserve and promote eventual restoration to a native forest re-populated by native birds, including the several kiwi which have self introduced over the last two years. The grant includes a further $40,000 for cutting next winter.
Also funded by WRC was 50 new Goodnature gas operated self setting traps to extend the trapping network. These are currently being trialled to determine the most effective locations to enhance our predator elimination rate.
During June a decision was made to operate as an independent body in light of the increasing scale and value of our operations and the need to control our own funds. Previously at the request of DOC we had worked under the umbrella of the Coromandel Peninsula Coastal Walkways based in Tairua, but our project had come to represent a significant proportion of their activities and our administration needs were growing.
To that end the Rings Beach Wetland Group Inc. was incorporated on June 19 and a committee was formed consisting of:
Chair: Carrie Parker
Secretary: Dave Fitzgerald
Treasurer: Kathy Speirs
Group email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Our volunteers have all paid a subscription of $10 per annum, if anyone else wishes to offer support in this way by becoming a member please contact Kathy.
Ian MacDonald was appointed Patron and Ian Patrick stepped aside as their house had been sold and they moved to Tauranga. In resigning from the group, Ian said that when Bruce Smith asked him to take on the secretarial role and free Ian up to run the project he had little idea how effective and ambitious it would become. "We have a keen team of dedicated volunteers doing great work, Bruce’s vision has been realised, even exceeded, and I have fulfilled my promise to Bruce so leave with a sense of satisfaction."