August 2017 – Predator-free 2050

  Can we rid New Zealand of possums, rats and stoats by 2050? ‘Yes, we can,” says Forest & Bird’s Advocacy manager, Kevin Hackwell, who will be the guest speaker at the AGM of the Aongatete Forest Restoration Trust. But Kevin cautions that this is an ambitious goal and will require new techniques and a co-ordinated team effort across communities, iwi, and the public and private sectors. Caution doesn’t come naturally to this dynamo of a man who has been on the frontlin...
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Kevin Hague visits the Forest

  On the 13th July 2017, Kevin Hague, the CEO of Forest and Bird, visited the Forest. We used the opportunity to invite some of our key supporters for morning tea, and to hear an address from David Peters, the secretary and deputy chair of the Aongatete Forest Project, on behalf of the Trust. His speech follows:- First of all I’d like to welcome you all and thank you for coming. In particular, I’d like to welcome Kevin Hague, the Chief Executive Officer of our main partner in the ...
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June 2017 – Extinction

Extinction is like a full stop. It happens when the very last individual of a species dies. The Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment has just reported that one in three of our native bird species are at risk of extinction. Already in the Kaimai forest birds like kakariki and kokako are locally extinct. But there are many steps along the road to the very last bird. The same report says that that four out of five bird species are ‘in trouble’. They are not gone from our forests, ...
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May 2017 – Tracking tunnels and discovering geckos

You have to be lucky to see a native gecko in the forest. The little lizards are rare because rats, cats, dogs, stoats, pigs and possums eat them. So it was a red letter day four years ago when a volunteer putting out rat bait came face to face with a gecko. It was a brown and grey forest gecko, an endemic species, which means it is native only to NZ. Then two years ago on a guided walk led by the Aongatete Trust an observant participant saw a green gecko, just as another walker trod on i...
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Pests of Aongatete Forest – video

These are the enemy of native biodiversity. This film was compiled in 2014 (no sound). We use game cameras to understand the behaviors of these species, in our mission to control them. Thanks to Barry and Pam Pethybridge for filming and editing these clips. https://youtu.be/OB5eUsfExKw The next video is a slideshow of still photographs compiled between January 2010 and June 2013. https://youtu.be/pN1y3KA4d3I
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August 2016 – Stoat busters

The nesting birds in the Aongatete forest are easy prey for stoats. But trapping stoats is difficult because they are smart animals, so we need to be smart too. That is why we are trying out a new plan involving two kill traps in a double-ended box. Barry enlisted the help of the Katikati Men’s Shed to build eight boxes. It involved cutting out the wood and assembling the boxes according to a design from the Department of Conservation. Ron Boggis from the Men’s Shed said the men enjoyed h...
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June 2016 – A major offensive in the pest war

Say ‘cyanide’ and people rear back in horror. It is a lethal killer. One lick, whether you are a possum or a person, and you are dead. So cyanide use is strictly regulated and can only be used by qualified operators. But because it is so toxic, cyanide is also a very fast and humane killer. Some wily pests have learned to avoid the less toxic bait which volunteers can handle so cyanide is another tool to kill the possums, stoats, and rats that are killing our forest and its wildlife. Thank...
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May 2016 – Rare fern discovered

The king fern is a magnificent plant. Its glossy fronds grow up to three metres long and a metre wide. It looks rather like a big tree fern without a trunk. The king fern belongs to a tropical family and only grows in lowland forest from Kaitaia to the Bay of Plenty. Once it was very common and its large, starchy root was an important food for Maori in pre-European times. But now it has been decimated by pigs, which dig up and eat the roots, and by deer and goats which browse the fronds. Kin...
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