November 2018 – Rats and rare birds

Controlling rats is the key to creating a healthy forest. Rats eat almost everything. They eat the fruits and the seeds that fall on the forest floor so there are few seedlings to replenish the forest or for the native insects in the leaf litter to eat. Rats eat the native invertebrates – like beetles, weta, grubs and worms – which are also food for birds like robins. Rats eat birds’ eggs and chicks in the nest. This is devastating for kereru which only lay one egg in a nest. So it is no ...
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Neighbours Newsletter – Winter 2018

New Phone Number The Project now has a permanent contact number. The number is forwarded to a “duty officer”, to deal with day to day enquiries. If you have any questions or concerns about activities in the forest and need an immediate answer then dial this number –  07 808 0792. If your question is not urgent, then please email field.manager@aongateteforest.org. Subscribe to our public newsletters We have just published our latest public newsletter. This goes to over 300 volunteers a...
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Newsletter for our Neighbours

Greetings, neighbors of Aongatete Forest. This is the first of more regular newsletters from us, to keep you informed about our activities. Pest Levels We regularly measure the pest levels in the Forest. Monitoring done in early February shows that OUTSIDE the controlled area, our traps showed a 65% incidence of rats, compared to 8% within our controlled area. In one part of our forest where we have recently deployed 50 or so Good Nature traps, our rat indice is now 0%. Possum levels out...
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Let’s Count Kereru while we put out our rat baits

The Great Kereru Count coincides with our Baiting Day on 30 Sept. You can all help to get an idea of how many kereru we have at Aongatete by keeping a tally of the number of bird you see and hear along you way. We will collate the total back at the kohanga. Spring is such a wonderful time to see our amazing native birds at Aongatete. If you would like to help control rats and count kereru visit our website www.aongateteforest.org/volunteer-page/  
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September 2017 – Flowers of the Forest

Most of the flowers in the native forest are not showy. Many are small, white and – to our eyes – boring. But flowers are not designed to please us but to attract animals to carry pollen from flower to flower to fertilise their seeds. Pollinating insects like bees and butterflies can see colours but New Zealand had few native butterflies and only small, solitary bees (the familiar honey bee is introduced.) But we have hundreds of native moths, beetles and ants, and these insects are colou...
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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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