November 2017 – The lone kauri at Aongatete

The long loop track at Aongatete leads gently up into the Kaimai forest. The forest changes as you climb. The lowland trees like puriri and kohekohe give way to tanekaha, totara, miro and the white-flowered tawari. If you turn west and scramble along bait line 23, you will get a surprise. You will find a lone kauri tree. It is taller than the surrounding forest and must be more than 100 years old. Aongatete is beyond the southern margin of kauri forest, which stops rather abruptly at Hot S...
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October 2017 – Fun in the Forest

The native forest is full of surprises. During the coming Conservation Week in the Aongatete forest there will be two opportunities for everyone who is curious to explore. The first activity, ‘Secrets of the forest’, will be on Sunday morning, 15th October from 10 to 12.30. This guided walk will be particularly suitable for families and children 8 to 12 years old. Every child will be given an activity booklet with quizzes and quests and we will set out to find the answers along the Short ...
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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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Cheeky robins a measure of forest’s health

The forest at Aongatete is now alive with birds after 12 years of pest control and soon 20 volunteers are going to prove it. A count of North Island robin will take place in the forest on Sunday, 30 July, organized by the Aongatete Forest Project. “Robins are cute, engaging, cheeky birds,” says project chair Barbara McGillivray, “and they’re also a good indicator that the forest is coming alive again. “When I first started volunteering for pest control in 2007 if we heard just one r...
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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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