Here are the stories that reflected the latest updates and press releases about the Trust's activities, achievements and special announcements during 2010, 2011 and 2012.
4th Annual Stoat Trappers' Ball a big success!
Saturday, 29th October, 2011
Once again, the Stoat Trappers' Ball was a hilarious fund-raising event this year for our kiwi project supporters and friends who enjoyed a great knees-up with the brilliant and versatile Wellington-based Ceilidh band, "The Jimmies".
This year was memorable for the lovely "wild food" supper master-minded by Kath Peebles and her superb assistants, as well as the amazing efforts many people put into their "barn dance" costumes.
The silent auction was extremely popular, with fabulous items - generously contributed by organisations such as The New Zealand Symphony Orchestra, Circa Theatre, Lighthouse Cinemas, The Interislander ferries, The Warehouse, GardenWiz Tools, Wow Jewellery Designs, Unichem Clive's Pharmacy, Medical Repair Service, New World Supermarket, hut nights from DOC, the Diocesan Car Fund Trust, Wainuiomata Book and Gift Shop and the Lindsay Family - being snapped up!
For more details about our Stoat Trappers' Ball, please click here: STB FAQ
To see photos from this and previous Stoat Trappers' Balls, see our Rimutaka Forest Park Trust Facebook website and/ or click here... to see photos from the 2008, 2009 and 2010 STB.
Mike, Kevin, Lianne and Kelly hard at work serving customers at
our fund-raising sausage sizzle outside The Warehouse in Petone last
Sunday. The bacon "sammies" were in big demand and we had to send Melody
out to procure additional supplies of sausages and bacon twice!
(Click for a larger image.)
Sunday, 20th February, 2011 - Petone
Volunteers from the Trust manned a barbecue generously provided by The Warehouse, Petone, to craft tasty sausage and bacon sandwiches for shoppers. Kelly and Melody created a table display to inform interested passers-by about many of our activities in the Rimutaka Forest Park.
Wanted! - Hut Wardens -
Rimutaka Forest Park
The Opportunity:- Become a volunteer hut warden for one of the booked huts in the Orongorongo Valley, Rimutaka Forest Park.
Along with hut warden duties you will be given an opportunity to experience other conservation tasks. This may include bird counts, kiwi recovery, track and facility maintenance, habitat restoration, weed control, tree planting, and giving talks.
When:- The summer warden season runs from Labour weekend (late October) to Easter weekend (mid April).
Available positions:- Regular weekend wardens, as well as longer-term volunteers throughout the season.
Location:- The Huts are located throughout the Orongorongo Valley, approx. 40 min drive from central Wellington and 1.5hrs walk from the park entrance at Catchpool Valley.
View from Papatahi Hut
- Boar Inn (sleeps 4)
- Raukawa (sleeps 14)
- Jans (sleeps 9)
- Turere (sleeps 32)
- Haurangi (sleeps 10)
- Papatahi (sleeps 10)
For more detailed information and the application form, please visit this link at the Department of Conservation website:
The memorial plaque on the seat dedicated to the late Bill McCabe, former president of the Rimutaka Forest Park Trust, who contributed so much to the conservation of the Park
Annual General Meeting - 2011
Our Annual General Meeting was held at the
Wainuiomata Library on Wednesday, 26th October, 2011.
The meeting went very well and the assembled members and other attendees were treated to a brilliant guest-speaker appearance by Dr. Andrea Byrom, who is an Animal Ecology Scientist at Landcare Research Ltd, Lincoln.
"Research activities in the Orongorongo Valley: the value of long-term research and pest control."
The former DSIR and now Landcare Research Ltd conduct several research activities on the forest ecosystem in the Orongorongo Valley. ‘The Valley’ is now one of the longest-running ecological research sites in the world, and by world standards it is very significant.
A question we often get asked is: “you’ve been doing this work for years – don’t we know how to kill pests yet?” This talk will provide an overview of recent research into the ecology and impacts of invasive mammals such as possums, rats and stoats in the Valley, and will also discuss the value of long-term pest control and research activities..
Click here for the latest RFPT Annual Report
Kiwi Aversion Training
Saturday 26th & Sunday 27th March, 2011
Jim Pottinger will be down our way again to train your dog(s) to avoid kiwi. Up-to-date Kiwi Avoidance certification for your dogs is essential for many hunting permit areas throughout New Zealand. For further details and to book your dog in for training, please call Melody, on (04) 564 6213
Restoration Planning Meeting
July 2010:- The Rimutaka Forest Park Charitable Trust is currently working with the Department of Conservation and Victoria University to develop a comprehensive restoration plan for the Rimutaka Forest Park.
At present we are in the initial stages of the planning process and are consulting widely with stakeholders and other interested parties to secure breadth and depth of inputs and ideas concerning the future management of the forest park.
Accordingly, we are issuing an open invitation to people and organisations having an interest in the park to join us for our second public meeting to discuss the plan - at the Wainuiomata Library - on Sunday 11th July, at 2.00pm.
Rush and Yme's second chick from their first clutch this season. (Photo credit:- Annette Harvey)
Sponsor a Baby Kiwi
If you - or your company - would like to give a kiwi chick like RFP20 a better name, then perhaps you could sponsor him or her during the first couple of years of their lives?
Check out the many other benefits of kiwi chick sponsorship here...
Feathers and fur at the Stoat Trappers' Ball - Kelly shows off her "fascinator"
New DVD about the park
New!! Click the DVD cover above to see viewing and download options for this excellent informational Digital Video Disk about the Rimutaka Forest Park and the Catchpool and Orongorongo Valleys.
Sponsor a Kiwi Chick
If you - or your company - would like to give a kiwi chick like RFP13 a better name, then perhaps you could sponsor him or her during the first couple of years of their lives?
Check out the many other benefits of kiwi chick sponsorship here...
The new Haurangi Hut offers splendid views of the Rimutaka range and the nearby Orongorongo River
New huts about to come on-stream
April/ May, 2010:-
Haurangi and Shamrock huts were built in the late 1960s as private baches and later acquired by the Department of Conservation. Each hut is bookable and sleeps up to 8 people.
Approximately 400 bookings are taken for Haurangi hut each year and approximately 200 for Shamrock Hut. Haurangi hut is a three hour walk from Catchpool car park, situated near the Big Bend track on the true right of the Orongorongo River. Shamrock hut is a further 45 minutes from Haurangi hut following the Orongorongo River.
These huts were made from untreated timber and are both nestled in the bush. Due in part to their age, materials and locations they are rotting, have borer and have reached the end of their serviceable lives.
Both new huts will be rebuilt by the end of May 2010. They will be built from more sustainable materials, be warmer and better insulated with bigger, lighter living spaces. Each new hut will have 10 bunks instead of the current 8.
The new Haurangi hut will be rebuilt in its current location and the existing hut demolished. Shamrock hut will be rebuilt close by in a sunnier position with good views of the mountain range. The new ‘Shamrock’ hut will be renamed as Papatahi hut.
(Click for a larger image) The pink areas in the aerial photograph shown above are the result of the wilding-pine-specific herbicide spraying, which proved to be very effective in its first application, but which now needs to be repeated to consolidate the results.
Aerial spraying - Catchpool
3rd May, 2010:- Just a quick note to advise that, weather-permitting, a helicopter will be used again this week to re-spray wilding pines in the area occupied by the former Catchpool pine forest. The previous application was very effective, with no apparent damage to non-target plant species and remnant native bush.
DoC recommends that members of the public should avoid using the former logging roads above the Catchpool Valley and Butcher's Track until after this operation is complete.
Another juvenile kiwi returned to the Rimutaka Forest Park for release
February, 2010:- Jaybee, a juvenile kiwi sponsored by JB Hughes Contractors, was repatriated to the park on 27th January following a blessing ceremony at the Wainuiomata Community Marae.
Melody McLaughlin weighs Jaybee as part of his health-check just before he was released into a temporary burrow prepared in advance for him upon his return to the Rimutaka Forest Park.
Dog Training - Kiwi Avoidance
Our latest Kiwi Avoidance Training sessions for Dogs will take place again at the Catchpool Centre on 13th March, 2010.
Kiwi Avoidance Training for Dogs - Catchpool Valley, 13th & 14th March, 2010
After the success of the previous training weekends, the Trust ran another such weekend at the Education Centre at the Catchpool entrance to the Rimutaka Forest Park on the 13th & 14th of March, 2010. Many dogs were put through the Kiwi- avoidance-specific canine training course, many of them for their second, qualifying session.
For more details about what is involved, how long it takes and likely costs, follow this link...
Anyone interested in having their dog trained to avoid kiwi
should contact Melody McLaughlin - Trust Secretary:
by email to Melody
or Tel. (04) 564 6213
or Txt. 027 452 4982
New free-camping area
January, 2010:- The Department of Conservation Poneke Office is formally encouraged camping once again in the Graces Stream area adjacent to the Old Five Mile Track.
Making the camping experience for newcomers more complete, a "Long-drop" (basic toilet) was dropped through the canopy by helicopter, which will be a relief for many less-hardy visitors.
The camping area is sited in a truly beautiful area of open beech forest alongside Graces Stream. It is within 800 metres of the top car park and accessible from the Old Five Mile Track loop.
Unlike the main campground, which has hot showers, flush toilets and well-equipped kitchen facilities, this basic campsite has great appeal to those who enjoy their camping "old-style", i.e. in a scenic spot under canvas (or nylon flysheet) and well away from any vehicles, or traffic noise.
The stream is crystal clear and the entire area great for kids to explore!
Thanks to the intensive pest control efforts of many of our volunteers and DoC personnel, the native birds are back in great numbers again, so the Dawn & Evening Choruses are wonderful auditory experiences.
You can't miss the new campsite marker pole showing where to head from the Old Five Mile Track. There are orange track markers all along the route, allowing campers to find their way to and from the campsite even after dark.
These children were just day visitors, who after seeing the spot, pestered their parents into coming back to camp nearby for much longer!
At a kiwi release blessing ceremony at the Wainuiomata Community Marae, "Sir Angus" is shown here before admiring children and long-serving Hutt City Councillor, Angus Finlayson, after whom this kiwi has been named. Shortly afterwards, this kiwi and its companion, "Whero", were taken back to the Rimutaka Forest Park for release into the wild. (Click for a larger image)
Helping to save our kiwi; Marcel's egg is gently removed from his burrow prior to candling and subsequent removal from the Park for hatching under controlled conditions. By doing so, we greatly increase the chance of survival of each chick that hatches, by protecting them from predation by stoats and other introduced pest animals until they're big enough to fight them off themselves!
Kiwi signs appear on the roadside approaches to the Rimutaka Forest Park now that we have established a population of North Island Brown Kiwi there.
Follow this link to see some of our archived press releases from previous months and years...(More)
Latest Trust Newsletter
Click here to download our latest newsletter in Adobe Acrobat (PDF) format (1.2mb):
Field Monitoring of Birds
The Trust has been intensively monitoring our kiwi ever since their original release in the Rimutaka Forest Park in May, 2006. Now we are extending our field monitoring of birds in the Park to all other species.
Field monitoring of the occurrence and conspicuousness of birds occurring in parts of the Rimutaka Forest Park commenced in the winter of 2009 and is being undertaken by Trust volunteers. The purpose of monitoring is to measure changes, both seasonally and over a longer period of time, in response to trapping efforts to reduce the numbers of animal pests, especially stoats, rats and possums. It is important to show that the Trust’s pest control work is making a positive difference for forest conservation. Regular bird monitoring is one way of doing this. (More...)