Puketi in the News

Newsletters are sent to trust members and supporters three times a year.
The latest is: Issue 41, September 2018 (click on link to download in PDF format).

For previous issues see our Newsletter Archive.

Kokako Update - 25 October 2012


(For later updates, please see the newsletters).
Transfer of ten kokako from Mataraua to Puketi is now complete. The final pair were caught and tranferred on the 5th of October. Since then, volunteers and DOC staff have been monitoring them all with radio tracking gear. All birds have survived the transfer with no signs of injury and are flying about exploring their new home. Several birds have gone some distance, but all have come back and at the moment, the most recent record of every bird is within the core pest control area. The sound anchoring seems to be working!

DNA tests have revealed that one "pair" captured is actually two females. The other pairs are all a male and a female. This may be a good thing because the two kokako to be brought from Lady Alice Island next month are both males. Hopefully they will find each other.

Several of the kokako have been heard calling in Puketi and observed interacting with each other. The four male/female pairs brought from Mataraua appear to spend much of the time together, but none have settled down to nesting yet. The breeding season of kokako is rather long (September to April), so there is still time for breeding this summer.

Links to some background reading on kokako are provided in Kokako References for those who are interested.

You can hear a recording of kokako song on the Department of Conservation website here: www.doc.govt.nz/conservation/native-animals/birds/land-birds/kokako/.

Kokako Update - 20 September 2012

There are now eight kokako in Puketi. Three more were caught and transferred on Wednesday 19th September, including the mate of the single bird captured last week, and another pair this morning. Weather at Mataraua was perfect for capture yesterday but marginal this morning with light drizzle. Two nets were opened this morning but one of the pairs targeted was not responsive to the played back recordings, possibly because of the weather conditions.

Another attempt to capture the last pair to complete the quota from Mataraua will be made as soon as weather is suitable, which at this stage appears from forecasts to be a week away.

Kokako Return to Puketi

15 September 2012

Releasing the first 3 kokako in Puketi, 153 September 2012

Opening transport boxes to release the first two kokako in Puketi. From left: Grant Harnish, Steve McManus, Budge Toki, Jordan Paniora, Grant Adams.

Three kokako were released near the centre of Puketi Forest last Thursday, 13th September. These are the first of 10 kokako to be transferred from Mataraua Forest to Puketi this year as part of a project to restore a kokako population in Puketi.

The project has been organised by the Puketi Forest Trust with support from the Department of Conservation, Te Roroa of Waipoua, and Piki te Aroha Marae, which is adjacent to Puketi.

(See Newsletter No 23 for a description of the kokako translocation project).

The kokako were caught in mist nets early on Thursday morning and flown by helicopter direct to Puketi. By 11 am they were flying about exploring their new home. The birds were accompanied on their journey by Jordan Paniora of Te Roroa and were met in Puketi by Budge Toki of Ngati Hao who lives beside the forest.

After transfer of the 10 kokako from Mataraua, it is planned that two kokako of Puketi origin being held on pest free Lady Alice Island in Bream Bay and a pair at Hamilton Zoo will also be brought back and released in Puketi. Next year another 10 kokako will be transferred from Mataraua. It is hoped these 24 birds will establish a permanent population of kokako in Puketi Forest.

Puketi was once home to many kokako, but predation and competition from introduced mammals such as rats, possums, stoats and feral cats caused the population to plummet during the 1980's and 1990's.

Mataraua Forest, north east of Waipoua, has the only remaining sustainable population of kokako in Northland. This population was recovered from a low level by several years of pest control carried out by the Department of Conservation. The Mataraua kokako are now sufficiently numerous to allow the removal of some adult birds to establish a second Northland population in Puketi.

Re-introduction of kokako to Puketi is possible because of an intensive pest control programme maintained by the Puketi Forest Trust. Stoats and feral cats are trapped over 5,500 hectares of the 15,000 hectare forest and rats and possums are trapped in a 650 hectare core area, which includes the territories of the last few kokako that lived in Puketi.

The kokako are being released near the centre of the core area. They are being encouraged to stay and set up territories in this area by a sound anchoring system, which plays short sequences of kokako song early each morning from four outdoor speakers placed in the forest.

Volunteers are monitoring the movement of the kokako with radio tracking equipment. If you are fit, have some experience in bush navigation and would like to help with this work, please contact us.

Robins return over Easter

The Bay Chronicle;  15 April 2010

Toutouwai catching team in front of the loaded helicopter

Task completed: The catching team in front of the loaded helicopter. From left: Lissa Pine, Matt Mannington, Jock and Tricia Hodgson, Laurence Gordon, Sharon Keymer, Jill Mortenson, Annie Blackmore, Ian Wilson. Front: Gerhard Wette.

A second release of North Island robins - toutouwai - into Puketi Forest went like clockwork over Easter weekend, with all 15 pairs safely transported from Mangatutu in the central North Island and released in the Puketi Forest Trust's management area.

Flown north by Heliops of Kerikeri, the birds arrived in individual boxes and were carried to two sites within the forest, by volunteers, before being released at about midday on Monday.

This second release follows the success of last year's introduction of 30 adults - most of them males - and subsequent successful breeding.

This year an effort was made to collect more females. Because females are more timid than males and therefore more difficult to trap, 52 birds were captured to obtain the required number of pairs, with the surplus males released back into the wild. The transfer was funded by a donation from Pub Charity.

Puketi Forest Trust had Conservation Department approval for the transfer of toutouwai and is working with the department on a kokako recovery plan to bring the birds back to the forest.

Northland is one of five North Island kokako regions identified by the national Kokako Recovery Group and there's seen to be a need for a second population of Northland kokako to back up the only currently viable population remaining in Mataraua, south west of Kaikohe.

More than 120 kokako lived in Puketi in the early 1980s with the number dwindling to seven males in 2003.

To stem the critical decline in numbers, the department decided to capture and transfer the remaining Puketi birds to Mauimua - Lady Alice Island in the Hen and Chicken Islands - for a breeding programme. Retention of Puketi genetics now hinges on just two or three males on Mauimua Island, a male at Hamilton Zoo, and two birds thought to be resident at Puketi.

Mataraua - including the Waima area is estimated to have about 35 pairs.

Successful breeding of Puketi robins

The Bay Chronicle;  17 December 2009

Toutouwai, North Island Robin - bred in Puketi

Robins at Puketi: The fact that this young robin is unbanded shows it is the result of successful breeding, as all the robins translocated earlier this year from Mangatutu have bands on both legs.

Puketi Forest is continuing to benefit from six years of hard work and generous donations by volunteers and supporters of the Puketi Forest Trust.

At the end of October, the first two North Island robins (toutouwai) to have hatched in Puketi in more than a hundred years left the nest. Since then three other young robins have been seen in different parts of the forest which shows that at least four pairs have bred successfully.

Two other pairs, which are being monitored by Trust volunteers, are sitting on eggs or feeding chicks in the nest.

That the robins, which were reintroduced in June, have bred successfully, proves the effectiveness of the trustís control of mammalian predators, says trustee Ian Wilson.

Over the first four years 100 kilometres of trap-lines were cut, 700 stoat traps and 250 feral cat traps were installed covering 5,500 hectares of forest, and 2,300 rat traps were installed on 700 hectares. It was into this area of intensive predator control that the robins were released.

Four contractors are employed to service the traps in the steeper and more remote areas. Those on easier country are serviced by volunteers.

The 10,000th rat trapped by the Puketi Forest Trust

Trapping a success: Puketi Forest Trust volunteer Isabella Godbert shows off the 10,000th rat trapped in the Puketi forest. Isabella helps with robin monitoring, kiwi call count monitoring and bird surveys.

Dedicated supporter and volunteer, Isabella Godbert recently removed the 10,000th rat to be caught. Rat numbers are now so low in the forest it is possible to walk 2.5 kilometres of trap line and find only one rat. This is in sharp contrast to the 25 to 30 that were caught on a similar length of line when trapping first started. Over the last six years 742 stoats and 116 wild cats have also been trapped.

Robins are not the only species to benefit from the predator trapping. Tomtits, grey warblers, silvereyes, fantails, tui and kukupa (Pigeons) are much more numerous than they were a few years ago. This year kiwi monitoring has shown that there has been a reversal in the decline of kiwi in the forest. Numbers have increased 75% on the average of the previous three years.

Forest sings

The Bay Chronicle;  18 June 2009

Toutouwai, North Island Robin

Release team: Looking to their future, the Bramley children, Claudia, 7, Kendall, 5, and John, 3, with local conservationist Rod Brown, contribute young enthusiasm to the recent robin release exercise.

Toutouwai, North Island Robin

Robin release: Volunteer Liz Vickerstaff and a robin about to fly free into Puketi Forest.

North Island robins brought to Puketi Forest ten days ago could be heard singing in the release area, during a second release last Sunday.

Puketi Forest Trust - Oho Mai Puketi - is now preparing to monitor a total of 30 birds transferred to the forest this month - 21 males and nine females.

This step in restoring birdsong to Puketi comes after the trust's pest eradication campaign achieved an environment suitable for the approval and transfer of birds from the Pureora State Forest, southeast of Otorohanga.

The new arrivals are expected to be joined by more robins next year.

In the meantime hopes are still high that a female kokako introduced from Mt Bruce last year will mate with the 'hut bird', the forest's last kokako.

The female, carrying a radio device, has moved further into the forest, away from the hut bird's usual territory. As he has not been heard on his home turf recently, it's hoped he has followed her and they are settling in together.

More than 120 kokako lived in Puketi in the early 1980s with the number dwindling to seven males in 2003.

To stem the critical decline in numbers, DOC decided to capture and transfer the remaining Puketi birds to Mauimua Island for a breeding programme. But they never managed to capture the hut bird and his lonely call went unanswered until the female was brought to Puketi.

Robins return north

The Bay Chronicle;  25 June 2009

Toutouwai, North Island Robin

A Bird in the hand: Banded for monitoring, a toutouwai shows his stripes prior to release into Puketi. Inset: North Island Robins, each in its own pet box, are gently moved from the helicopter that collected them from the Waikato.

By Keri Molloy

Robins have been absent from Puketi for more than a hundred years, making the release of 13 male and five female birds on Sunday a moving event for local iwi and conservationists.

Years of pest eradication carried out by the Puketi Forest Trust - Oho Mai Puketi - finally achieved an environment suitable for the approval and transfer of birds from Mangatutu to Puketi earlier this year.

Mangatutu is southeast of Otorohanga, on the north side of Pureora State Forest. After several years of pest control there, driven by the Howick Tramping Club, the local population of robins and other birds are thriving.

A team of eight volunteers from the Far North travelled to Mangatutu to catch the birds last week, helped by volunteers from the Ark in the Park project in the Waitakere Ranges, who are also catching robins for release in their area.

The birds were formally farewelled by Ngati Rereahu before being flown to Puketi via helicopter by Kingsley Thompson of Heliops.

Once at Puketi, the birds were welcomed with a brief ceremony.

Puketi Forest trustee and Piki Te Aroha Marae kaumatua Wiremu Wiremu said the transfer of toutouwai represented an important exchange between Maniapoto and Ngapuhi iwi. To remember their origin, these birds should be known as 'Toutouwai O Te Nehenehenui'. Te Nehenehenui is the name given by Maniapoto to the wider area from which the birds were taken.

The birds were then carried onto a ridge, about half-an-hour's walk into the forest. They were released by a group of about 50 local conservationists of all ages. Four more robins were brought north this week, bringing the total to 22.

"This marks a move from cleaning up the forest to properly restoring it and hopefully this will be the start of many such introductions," says trust member Gary Bramley.

It's hoped the robins will begin nesting early in the coming spring. The trust will need volunteers to help with regular monitoring.

The translocation was funded by the ASB Community Trust.

The robins return

The Bay Chronicle;  4 June 2009

Toutouwai, North Island Robin

Welcome: North Island robin - toutouwai.

After months of work, the Puketi Forest Trust - Oho Mai Puketi - has achieved approval for the transfer of North Island robins - toutouwai - from Mangatutu to Puketi.

Mangatutu is southeast of Otorohanga in the South Waikato, on the north side of Pureora State Forest. After several years of pest control the local robin population there is thriving.

The transfer and release of the birds into Puketi has been set down for Sunday, June 14.

The robins will be transported via helicopter by Kingsley Thompson of Heliops.

The scheduled arrival at Puketi is 11am.

A team of eight volunteers has been organised to travel to Mangatutu to catch the birds during the preceding three days. Others will meet the birds and carry them from the helicopter into the forest for release. There will be about 30 birds in individual boxes to be carried. Anyone who is interested is invited to come and see the birds released.

The robins will be released near the centre of the Puketi Forest Trustís core pest control area, off the Waihoanga Gorge Kauri Walk, which is accessed via the signposted walkway across farmland from Puketi Road. Park on the roadside and follow the signposts. The helicopter will land in the paddock near the bridge at the start of the bush track. The welcoming party will gather before the last stile in the adjacent paddock until the pilot gives the all clear. There will be a brief welcoming ceremony, after which the birds will be carried half an hour walk into the bush and released. Dress for the weather and be prepared for some mud on the track. Take a drink and a snack.

The trust's aim is to capture 15 male and 15 female birds. The Far North team will be assisted by volunteers from the Ark in the Park project in the Waitakere Ranges west of Auckland, who are also catching robins for release in their area.

The robins will be attracted with meal worms and caught in clap traps, then weighed, measured, banded and held for the journey in individual pet boxes with supplies of food and water. Robins are fiercely territorial and fight if confined together. A clap trap is a light frame covered with mist netting, which is released pneumatically to fall when a bird ventures under it. Meal worms are a species of beetle larvae raised in flour Ė a delicacy for insectivorous birds.

Once established at Puketi, the robins should begin nesting early in the coming spring and should be seen by visitors on the Waihoanga Gorge Kauri Walk.

After release, the trust will need volunteers to help with regular monitoring.

They are also keen to receive any reports of robins sighted by people walking in the forest.

Hut bird not so lonely

The Bay Chronicle;  24 December 2008

The best Christmas present the Puketi Forest Trust could hope for is a kokako chick in a kauri tree.

The lonely 'hut bird', the forest's last kokako, has a mate after the arrival of a female bird from Mt Bruce.

The new arrival appears to settling in well and has been seen building a nest.

Conservation Department biodiversity officer Steve McManus says the hut bird has been very vocal since the arrival of the female.

"It's difficult to say whether he is singing because he is happy or whether he is being territorial, but the translocation is progressing well," he says.

More than 120 kokako lived in Puketi in the early 1980's with the number dwindling to seven males in 2003.

Five years ago, to stem the critical decline in numbers, DOC decided to capture and transfer the remaining Puketi birds to Mauimua Island for a breeding programme. But they never managed to capture the hut bird and his lonely call went unanswered until two weeks ago.

Transporting and releasing birds is always a risky business. The first female kokako brought back to Puketi died - a disappointing setback for those involved in the project. Hopes are now up for young kokako.

The trust plans to reintroduce North Island robins in the new year.



Kaeo School pupils fronted up with a generous $680 gift, just before Christmas, to help fund the ongoing pest eradication campaign. The children raised the money by washing cars, organising a garage sale and games and selling herbal fusions.

The Puketi Forest Trust has caught 590 stoats, 34 weasels, two ferrets, 99 feral cats, 6911 rats, 330 hedgehogs, 935 possums, and 190 mice.

The Conservation Department installed a ring of traps around the core area a year ago and have caught 366 possums.

Pig hunters are responding well to an opportunity to teach their dogs kiwi aversion, with 67 dogs attending a recent course. Further training sessions will be available in 2009.

Monitoring shows a 162 percent increase in bird numbers as a result of the five year pest control campaign.

Big date for lonely male

The Bay Chronicle;  23 October 2008

The lonely Ďhut birdí, Puketi Forestís last remaining kokako, is to get a mate at last.

A female kokako is to be introduced this week from Auckland Zoo.

More than 120 birds lived in Puketi in the early 1980ís with the number dwindling to seven males in 2003.

Four years ago, to stem the critical decline in numbers, the Department of Conservation decided to capture and transfer the remaining Puketi birds to Mauimua Island for a breeding programme but they never managed to capture the hut bird and his lonely call has gone unanswered since.

Now, after intense predator control by the Puketi Forest Trust, a core area of the forest is sufficiently clear of predators for the national Kokako Recovery Group to approve re-introduction of kokako.

The female bird was bred at Tiritiri Matangi in the Hauraki Gulf and handreared in Puketi. Because she spent time at Puketi, she will have the local dialect, an important factor in the successful breeding of kokako. Birds from different regions have different dialects and they usually donít mate with a bird that sings differently.

She will travel north this week to be released into an aviary for acclimatisation before being released into the wild about 10 days later.

DOC biodiversity officer, Steve McManus, says, ďThis is quite exciting for all those who have been involved in the project over the past five years. The reintroduction of kokako to Puketi would not be possible without the work of the trust, the generosity of contributors and the goodwill of iwi groups involved, particularly Ngati Toro.Ē

A second female bird Ė offspring of the first, bred at Auckland Zoo and now at the Mt Bruce Wildlife Centre Ė is due to follow her mother to Puketi about a week later.

The aviary has been relocated comfortably into the hut birdís territory.

Monitoring shows a 162 percent increase in bird numbers as a result of the pest control campaign. Also on the rise is the population of kiwi in the forest, two of which have been heard recently near the aviary.

The pest control management has been audited by DOC habitats ranger Nigel Miller.

Kokako populations require sustained low levels of rat and possum numbers in order to survive and they only flourish in areas where the forest is in a healthy state.

A young kokako pair presently in Hamilton will be given a year to attempt breeding. If breeding is unsuccessful, they will be taken from the zoo and also brought to Puketi.

Jones pledges pest support

The Bay Chronicle;  28 August 2008

Hon Shane Jones, MP

Parliamentarian Shane Jones promises to work hard to support the Puketi Forest pest eradication campaign, now in its fifth year.

Since trapping started in 2003 the Puketi Forest Trust has rid the forest of 575 stoats, 96 cats, 32 weasels about 300 hedghogs and some 250 rats monthly.

As a result there is now a 160 percent increase in bird numbers in the trust's core 350 hectare area of operation, with grey warblers, tom tits, silver eyes, tuis and native pigeons seen in good numbers.

Trapping results are so good that the trust plans to re-introduce kokako, North Island robins and riflemen within the next two years but fundraising continues to be a challenge with little contribution from tourism operators using the forest as an asset.

Mr Jones talked to Puketi Forest Trust members last week and says he will lobby conservation minister Steve Chadwick to come up with a scheme where concessions revenue becomes more available for Puketi Forest.

"I am concerned that too much tourism concession income has been swallowed up by providing car parks."

He says some tourism operators using the forest were being 'cute' and were not contributing, effectively allowing their passengers a free ride.

"This project should not have to rely on goodwill and charity," he says.

Mr Jones says he will also speak to the minister about the need for the provision of kiwi aversion training for pig dogs.

"Pig hunting is important for many rural families and most would not want their dogs to damage kiwi but, in contrast to other parts of the country, here there is a lack of resources that is inadvertently demonising pig hunters."

He says he hoped to raise both these issues with the minister this week and has accepted an invitation from the trust to take a day walk into the forest, recognised as one of New Zealand's great forests and important on an international scale.

Turning of the tide

The Bay Chronicle;  28 August 2008

Ian Wilson, Peter Bellingham, Gary Bramley

Campaigners: Puketi Forest Trust members Ian Wilson, left, and Gary Bramley, right, with visiting plant ecologist Dr Peter Bellingham.

Guest speaker at the Puketi Forest Trust's annual general meeting last week was Landcare Research plant ecologist Dr Peter Bellingham, who says his association with Puketi had changed his life.

Now Christchurch based, he spent time at Puketi 26 years ago while working for the NZ Forest Service.

He says he sees Puketi as important on an international scale, as a habitat for many species unique to NZ. "More than half the country's fern species are found in Puketi and it is also a stronghold of the northern conifers.

"Waipapa River is one of the best and least disturbed rivers in the country."

Describing the changes since he worked at Puketi, he mourned the decline of northern rata, kotukutuku and raukawa to possums and he described the reduction in kokako numbers from 100 in 1984 to four in 1994 as, "The most spectacular collapse of a kokako population yet documented."

However he was encouraged by the work of the trust and saw a turning of the tide.

He noted that Puketi and other NZ forests are sadly inaccessible: "We value what we experience."

Living Nature's helping hand

The Bay Chronicle;  31 July 2008

North Island Robin

The North Island Robin: This and other birds are to be reintroduced to Puketi Forest thanks to the success of the five year pest eradication campaign.

A forest and a hospice are benefiting from a Kerikeri-based company.

Living Nature has targeted 'ecology' and 'sustainability' as key elements in how they do business since beginning in 1987.

Supporting this month's World Environment Day, Living Nature offered to donate 5 percent of the purchase price from every purchase made to an organisation helping the environment.

The promotion resulted in a donation of $1000 from Living Nature to the Puketi Forest Trust. This will be contributed to the trust's new capital fund, recently established to maintain long term pest eradication to create a safe environment for birds.

"We always take our international visitors to Puketi to showcase New Zealand's native forest, and we hope this promotion may assist," says Living Nature online manager Jody Bews-Hair.

Living Nature also supports Hospice Bay of Islands.

One lucky hospice patient or volunteer each month qualifies for a free one hour treatment at Living Nature, or if patients are unable to get to Living Nature, a therapist can come to hospice.

"The support of Living Nature is very much appreciated - it is so nice to be able to offer our patients and our volunteers a special treat like this," says Hospice Bay of Islands general manager Shelley Kirton.

Birds Return to Puketi

The Bay Chronicle;  3 July 2008

Pest control at Puketi Forest has been so successful that re-introduction of native birds is now to proceed.

The five year campaign to restore birdsong to one of New Zealand's great forests is at last reaping rewards.

Kokako feeding young on nest

Puketi Forest Trust chairman Gary Bramley recently attended a Kokako Recovery Group meeting and reports that a total of seven birds are earmarked for Puketi.

Two adult kokako females now in captivity are to return to the forest - one from Mt Bruce and one from Auckland Zoo - for pairing with the lonely 'hut bird', Puketi's last remaining kokako.

Four young birds already approved for removal from Mataraua next breeding season - October to March - will be brought to Puketi, bringing the total number of kokako in the forest to seven.

These will be caught just prior to fledging and will require some supplementary feeding in an existing aviary when they get to Puketi.

A young pair presently in Hamilton will be given a year to attempt breeding. If breeding is unsuccessful, they will be taken from the zoo and also brought to Puketi and it's possible that a further five birds will return to the forest in the future.

Dr Bramley says he is delighted: "We have shown we can get the level of pests down and now we are being rewarded with the return of this iconic symbol of a healthy forest."

The translocation of North Island robins is also going ahead and two species could be returned to the forest by 2010, Dr Bramley says.

The number of kokako pairs across the country is now more than 740, up more than 100 on last year. Most of them are located in the central North Island.

Mataraua and Waima Forests are the only other areas in the North with them.

Kokako populations require sustained low levels of rat and possum numbers in order to survive and they only flourish in areas where this intensive pest control is taking place and the forest is in a healthy state.

Birds from different regions have different dialects and they usually don't mate with a bird that sings the wrong dialect, hence the difficulties the Puketi Forest Trust has had in finding females for the Puketi males.

More than 120 birds lived in Puketi in the early 1980s, with the number dwindling to seven males in 2003.

Thinking Ahead to Restore Birds

The Bay Chronicle;  19 June 2008

Manginangina boardwalk

The Puketi Forest Trust, which has been working to restore wildlife to Puketi Forest since 2003, is aiming to raise $1 million in capital to fund the restoration of the unique subtropical kauri forest in perpetuity.

The Puketi Forest Capital Fund will be made up of donations, made expressly for the purpose of allowing the trust to accumulate. The money will not be used for the day to day operations of the trust, but invested instead.

"Assuming a return of eight percent or better on this investment then $1 million is enough to fund the restoration of this unique kauri forest in perpetuity," says chairman Gary Bramley.

To date the trust has removed thousands of pests - rats, cats, stoats and other vermin.
Five minute bird counts show that this has resulted in big increases in bird numbers.

"We have now created a situation where translocations of birds to the forest are being considered. The trust hopes to begin transferring North Island robins to the forest in 2009. This is just the beginning of a new phase of the restoration with the focus shifting to reintroducing species that have been lost and creating a forest that Northlanders can be proud of," he says.

Donations to the fund are a minimum of $1000 and all donations are tax deductible.

So far the trust has spent more than $600,000 to establish the network of traps and tracks necessary for this pest control work. If the number of volunteer hours is factored in, including the use of the RNZAF Iroquois helicopter in 2005, this total would rise to more than $1m. Most of this money has come from private donations, sale of merchandise and grants from organizations like ASB Community Trust, Lottery Grants Board - Environment and Heritage, BNZ Save the Kiwi Trust, Pub Charity, Sir John Logan Campbell Residuary Estate and the like.

For further information ring Gary at 405 0074 or email garyandcarey@hotmail.com or write to PO Box 257, Kaeo.

Puketi Used by Many

The Bay Chronicle;  27 March 2008

Seventy percent of funds collected to restore Puketi Forest comes from outside Northland, according to Puketi Forest Trust chairman Gary Bramley.

Speaking at the recent Puketi Forest open day, he challenged the local community, especially tourism and business interests, to rectify this.

About 80,000 people visit the Manginangina boardwalk annually, according to DOC. The only concessionaire is 'Adventure Puketi'. The rest of the tour buses apparently get around the need for a concession by dropping people off to wander the boardwalk by themselves rather than the driver 'guiding' people through the forest. DOC will be looking into this says area manager Rolien Elliot. "It's a shame that these tourists and visitors are not contributing."

The trust has already raised and spent $650,000 on pest eradication and is now looking for a similar amount in its drive to reintroduce species back to Puketi.

Dr Bramley says DoC's integrated management plan, which takes a holistic approach to the forest - addressing tracks, pests and visitors - is a very good start to ensuring Puketi's ongoing diversity.

The combined open day, which drew about 200 people, was organised by the trust, the Department of Conservation's Bay of Islands area office and Piki Te Aroha Marae.

Those attending visited the 30 stalls ranging from the trust's own, to possum pluckers, DOC tracks and historic sites, and the Kerikeri Shadehouse volunteers.

The korowai of Puketi must not be lost, says kaumatua Wiremu Wiremu from Piki Te Aroha Marae. "It has become a little ragged, but with the Trust and DOC and all of us working together we will revive it. We need each other to make this happen."

The day began with a karakia from kaumatua Hori Harris.

"We were thrilled with the response to the Puketi Open Day," says DOC programme manager Sara Kusanic, who co-ordinated the day.

Anyone who would like a copy of the Puketi Integrated Management Plan can contact Sara Kusanic or Dan O'Halloran on 09 407 0300.

Puketi Open Day

The Bay Chronicle;  21 February 2008

The Department of Conservation weeds team, from Bay of Islands, are battling foreign invaders along rivers in Puketi and Omahuta Forests this month.

Mexican daisy, tradescantia, pampas, buddleia, Japanese cedar and Himalayan honeysuckle are threatening the forests' unique stream bank ecosystems.

"These weeds mainly smother the ground so native seedlings are unable to germinate," says the Programme Manager of Threats, Sara Kusanic.

The Puketi Omahuta river system is home to several plant species which are only found in the upper North Island, for example Hebe acutifolia and koru (Colensoa physaloides).

This work is done annually over the summer as much of it involves standing knee to neck deep in the river while removing weeds. Hand pulling or cutting and painting are the preferred methods as it is not practical to carry spray equipment into the more remote areas. The weeds then need to be carried out for disposal.

To find out more about what's going on in the forest come along to the Puketi Omahuta Open Day on Saturday, March 15, starting at 10am at the Puketi Forest Headquarters.

As well as sharing the vision for the future of the forest there will be stalls, a trapping display, possum shy, games for children, treasure hunt, hangi and barbecue and the opportunity to walk through the Puketi Forest Trust trap lines with members of the trust. To get to Puketi Headquarters from State Highway One take Waiare or Wehirua Rds and follow the signposts to Puketi Recreation Area.

From State Highway 10 take Pungaere or Waiare Rds and follow the signs. The headquarters are about 14kms from Waipapa, and 20kms from Okaihau and 20kms from Kaeo.

Piki Te Aroha Marae, The Trust and the Department of Conservation hope to see you there.

For further information call the DOC, Bay of Islands area office on 407 0300.

Possums Under Control

Extracted from "Message from the Chairman,"
Newsletter of the Puketi Forest Trust;
  Issue 11, March 2008

In January we began rat trapping again after a hiatus while we awaited the DoC poison operation for possum control in Puketi, which went ahead in October using cholecalciferol and encapsulated cyanide delivered in the Trust's bait stations.

DoC have now put a perimeter line of Warrior possum traps around the Trust Core Management Area and are committed to checking them every fortnight until the end of the financial year (June). The aim of this perimeter barrier is to prevent re-invasion and hopefully it will be successful.

This will provide protection for mature trees like rata that are highly palatable to possums and will complement the Trust's work protecting fruits and seeds by controlling rats. The future for forest regeneration looks bright.

The initial monitoring results for possums show that DoC have not achieved the possum kill they were hoping for in all areas (<6% using wax block monitoring), but they have achieved an average of 6% over the whole area.

Trustees Meet in Forest

Extracted from "Message from the Chairman,"
Newsletter of the Puketi Forest Trust;
  Issue 11, March 2008

The trustees and some family members all met at the ranger's hut in Puketi (located on the plateau, within the Trust's core management area) on the 12th and 13th of January. It took us several hours to walk in to the hut, we stayed overnight and walked out the next day.

It was good for the soul to see the relatively healthy state of the bush, the diversity of plants and hear the birds sing. We also heard the mournful call from Puketi's last male kokako on the Sunday morning before we came home.

We used the time to not only have a regular meeting, but also to strategise where-to-from-here with regard to our management of the forest and our fund raising. I think it was a good reminder to all of us just why we are doing what we are doing and how necessary it is.

Puketi Scenic Reserve

Extracted from Newsletter of the Puketi Forest Trust;  Issue 10, October 2007

The Puketi Scenic Reserve has been added to the Trust's management agreement with the Department of Conservation. This 82 hectare reserve is situated one kilometre south of Puketi Forest, on the south side of Puketi Road. (See map).

It was decided to include the reserve in the Trust's area of management because of the large number of taraire, the fruit of which provide food for Puketi's pigeons during late winter and early spring. This reserve also has a very high density of kiwi.

The four farm owners bordering the reserve are committed to ensuring the survival of kiwi and are very conscious of the need to keep their dogs out of the bush at all times.

The traps for this area were donated and the trap boxes assembled by Mike Rowledge. Volunteers are servicing the trap lines. Nine stoats have been caught as well as the normal by-catch of rats and hedgehogs.

Monitoring the Trappers

Extracted from Newsletter of the Puketi Forest Trust;  Issue 9, April 2007

The trustees have a responsibility to ensure every dollar the trust receives goes as far as possible and we get good value for money.

The trustís trappers have done an excellent job and there has never been any reason to doubt that they are fulfilling their job descriptions. However we owe it to our supporters to check that they are doing what they are paid to do to the required standard. At least twice a year numbered tags are placed into randomly selected trap boxes in the forest. When servicing the traps the trapper records where the individual tags are found and returns them to the supervisor, along with the record of catches for the round. To date every tag has been returned.

Traps are also checked regularly to ensure they are correctly set. A trap that wonít go off is of no use. The Fenn traps (used on some of the stoat lines) need cleaning, lubrication and fine adjustment to work correctly. A female stoat weighs 200 gms and a male 300 gms.

The traps are checked by lowering a 150 gm weight onto the trigger plate to ensure they are set finely enough to spring at that weight. Scott is doing a great job, as last year his traps caught 784 ship rats (120-160 gms) and 4 weasels (60-130 gms) as well as 152 stoats.

This page last updated: 2 May 2018

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