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News Archives

Here are some stories that reflected updates and press releases about the Trust's recent activities, achievements and special announcements.

Top Stories

Annual General Meeting

The 2021 Annual General Meeting of the Remutaka Conservation Trust was held last night (13/10/21) at the Petone Library in Lower Hutt.

Due to Covid-19 Level 2 restrictions on the room capacity, there was a relatively a small turn-out of members at our AGM.

Following the presentation of our President's Annual Report, our financial reports, and the election of a Management Committee for the next year, there was discussion of other items of general interest.

Guest speaker Paul Ward, from Capital Kiwi, delivered an excellent update on that exciting project to achieve their vision towards restoring a large scale kiwi population to "Wellington's backyard".

Paul Ward, of Capital Kiwi, shown during his presentation to RCT members at their 2021 AGM
Paul Ward of Capital Kiwi enthusiastically presenting his update on their exciting project to restore a population of kiwi to Wellington's "backyard". Photo credit: PC.

Notice of Annual General Meeting

The 2021 Annual General Meeting of the Remutaka Conservation Trust will be held at 7.30 pm on Wednesday 13th October, at the Petone Library. 

The agenda will include presentation of our annual report, our financial reports, and election of a Management Committee for the next year. There will also be the opportunity to raise and discuss other items of general interest.  

We are delighted to advise that our guest speaker will be Paul Ward, from Capital Kiwi.  Come along and hear Paul talk about the progress Capital Kiwi are making towards achieving their vision of restoring a large scale kiwi population to "Wellington's backyard".

COVID 19

Please note that the AGM will be subject to whatever Covid 19 restrictions are in place at the time.  

RSVP

To enable us to monitor numbers we ask that anyone planning to attend the AGM advise the Secretary.


Notice to Remutaka Trappers/ Volunteers

Reminder:

The stag roar has started - or is about to start - and will last over the next few weeks in the Remutakas.

With this comes hunters in and out of the park after that elusive stag head or trophy.  Given COVID-19 lockdowns also curtailed events last year, there may be many more hunters than usual out and about.

You have all been issued with high-viz clothing; Please wear it. 

If you do not still have your high-viz vest and beanie, please let Melody McLaughlin know A.S.A.P. for replacement(s).

If you are not comfortable going in to the Park during this time, then please don’t. The beasties can wait. Your safety is more important. This is particularly relevant for those of you who have trap-lines not on standard tracks and for kiwi handlers/ trackers.

Thank you!

Kiwi Avoidance Training - October 2021

Kiwi Avoidance Training (KAT)

The KAT team booked our avoidance trainer, Jim Pottinger, for May and October 2021.

October dates as follows: (Friday 29th; Saturday 30th, and Sunday 31st October, 2021).

We will run the training at the Catchpool Centre, Remutaka Forest Park as usual.

Jim Pottinger is a very experienced trainer with a great understanding and empathy with dogs and owners. He uses a variety of visual aids and kiwi smell to train dogs to avoid kiwi. He treats the dogs with respect and discusses the training with owners to make sure they understand and are happy with the process.

A training collar is used on a low setting and is activated when a dog shows interest in either the kiwi smell or visual aids. Some owners have tried the collar on themselves as reassurance.

Once a dog has attended initial training it is important to keep the training up-to-date for your dog/s by coming back for a refresher.

Demand is very high - many dogs are already booked in, so please contact us urgently by email kat@remutaka.nz if you'd like to get your dog trained this month. We book in half-hour slots on a Friday, Saturday, or Sunday depending on demand.

Notice of Annual General Meeting 2020

The 2020 Annual General Meeting of the Remutaka Conservation Trust will be held at: 7.30 pm on Thursday 15th October

The venue is room C116 on the Ground Floor of C Block, Wellington Institute of Technology, Petone.  (Access to C Block is off Kensington Avenue, Petone.

The agenda includes presentation of our annual report, our financial reports, and election of a Management Committee for the next year.

There will also be the opportunity to raise and discuss other items of general interest.

Guest Speaker - Jim Lynch, QSM

We are also delighted to advise that the guest speaker at our AGM will be Jim Lynch QSM, the inspiration behind the founding and establishing of Zealandia.  Come along and hear Jim talk about how he and his dedicated band of co-conspirators discovered a natural valley in the middle of suburban Wellington some 30 years ago and turned their dream into the highly successful eco-sanctuary we have now. We look forward to seeing you there!

Jim Lynch speaking to Remutaka Conservation Trust AGM 2020 attendees
Guest speaker, Jim Lynch, speaking to Remutaka Conservation Trust AGM 2020 attendees in October. Jim shared some BIG new ideas he's working on, as well as providing a great account of the outcomes of his previous magnum opus, Karori Sanctuary - or Zealandia - as we Wellingtonians now proudly know it. Photos credit: PC.

Guest speaker, Jim Lynch, at the lecturn presenting his talk and slideshow at the AGM
Big ideas from the 1990s - and now for the 2020s and beyond - including a large (~3350ha) fenced predator-free sanctuary in the Wainuiomata Water Catchment bordering the Remutaka Forest Park. Kākāpō and other threatened native birds will eventually be released there.

Tonganui - map showing boundaries of conservation hot-spots for development in the Greater Wellington/ Wairarapa region.

2020 Annual General Meeting

The 2020 Annual General Meeting of the Remutaka Conservation Trust was held at the Wellington Institute of Technology, Petone, on Thursday 15th October.  The agenda included presentation of our President's annual report, our financial reports, and the election of a Management Committee for the next year.

Guest Speaker - Jim Lynch, QSM

We were also delighted to welcome our guest speaker, Jim Lynch QSM, the inspiration behind the founding and establishment of Zealandia. We heard Jim talk about how he and his dedicated band of co-conspirators discovered a natural valley in the middle of suburban Wellington some 30 years ago and turned their dream into the highly successful eco-sanctuary we have now. And then he talked about some even BIGGER ideas he's incubating for conservation in the Wellington Region.


Annual General Meeting - 2019

The Rimutaka Forest Park Charitable Trust Inc. operating as:
Remutaka Conservation Trust

Venue: Petone Library Meeting Room
  Brittania St, Petone
Date: Wednesday, 30th October, 2019
Time:  7.30pm

Our grateful thanks to Grant Watt, who retired from the office of Trust Secretary last night. Grant has put in many years of great service to our community group in this role. He remains a Remutaka Conservation Trust member and will continue to help out with our CiviCRM system and FIXIT team.

New committee members welcomed last night were Esther King and Linda Olsen - both well-known to the Trust through previous community group liaisons and events. 2019 - 2020 Committee

The AGM was followed by a superbly informative and amusing presentation from Stephen Marsland on the topic: "Cryptics and Cross Words: Spying on Kiwi".

Portrait of Professor Stephen Marsland with NZ bush background
Stephen Marsland is professor of mathematics and data science in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at Victoria University of Wellington. (Photo credit: Victoria University of Wellington).

His research interests are in applications of geometry and complex systems, principally shape spaces, machine learning, and algorithms.

Stephen is the author of "Machine Learning: An Algorithmic Perspective" - This book is aimed at computer science and engineering undergraduates studying machine learning and artificial intelligence. Now in its 2nd edition.

He does a lot of work analysing birdsong, with the aim of automatically recognising bird species and inferring population densities from this information.

Notice of AGM for Remutaka Conservation Trust - Wed 30th Oct, 2019
Notice for the AGM for Remutaka Conservation Trust held on Wednesday, 30th Oct, 2019.

Canine Kiwi Aversion Training

Opportunity to get your dog(s) trained to avoid kiwi occurred twice in 2019, with two more sessions planned for 2020.

Specialist aversion trainer, Jim Pottinger, will put your dog(s) through a series of kiwi sensory experiences in an outdoor setting and teach them to avoid kiwi encounters.

Venue as usual will be the Catchpool Centre near the entrance to the Remutaka Forest Park down at the Catchpool.

Bookings are essential - To do so, please contact Rosemary Thompson via email at kat@rimutakatrust.org.nz to express your interest - or to seek further details - so that an invitation with a time to book in with your dog(s) on your preferred day that weekend can be sent via email in the week before the training event.

Goat Cull - Turere & Whakanui Catchments

Map showing extent of recent ungulate control operation sponsored by DOC
Map showing extent of recent ungulate control operation sponsored by DOC in the Remutaka Forest Park. (Click for a larger image). Source: BCL Report, June 2018.

Feral goats, pigs and deer do a huge amount of damage to native New Zealand forests, leading to the local extinction of many precious endemic plants and the wildlife communities dependent upon them.

The Department of Conservation recently commissioned Backcountry Contracting Limited (BCL) to conduct a low-intensity survey and operational sweep for goats and other ungulates in the core Remutaka kiwi territory made up of the Whakanui and Turere catchments.

63 goats were killed and a survey made of all goat, deer and wild pig sightings. The operation was delivered using 2 ground hunters with indicating, finder/bailer and indicating/bailing type dogs.

BCL made a number of helpful observations and recommendations to DOC following this survey. One was that there is a need to target ALL ungulate species in the control area, as well as in neighbouring catchments, to reduce the migration of feral pests into the area.

Map of suggested buffer zones and recommended extended ungulate control - Remutaka Forest Park
Map of suggested buffer zones and recommended extended ungulate control - Remutaka Forest Park. (Click for a larger version) BCL Report, June 2018

Mobile Cell-phone Coverage Coming to Catchpool?

With thanks to Chris Bishop (MP) and the Wainuiomata Rural Community Association for championing this issue, cellular tower cover is planned for the Remutaka Forest Park Catchpool Valley and surrounding rural areas at last.

Press release details here:

http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA1911/S00057/mobile-coverage-confirmed-for-catchpool-valley.htm

This will be enormously beneficial, not only from a health and safety perspective, but also for our Catchpool Volunteer Project work down there. It also means we may be able to take advantage of new trap and field camera monitoring systems that rely on dependable cell-phone connectivity in the future.

Edit Update - May 2022:The Rural Connectivity Group are planning to install a cell-phone tower on the Cattle Ridge Road. Installation is planned within the coming 6 months. After that we expect cell phone coverage for most of the park, making any activities in the park safer and immediately Instagrammable. (Source: Elly Peters, DOC).
Key message: Until then,  Don't rely on cell phone coverage being available in the Catchpool Valley, except on the ridgetops that have line-of-sight with more distant Wellington or Hutt Valley cellular towers.

Recent Hatches...

Kiwi chick currently designated RFP48 being held by staff member at Pukaha Mt Bruce hatchery

Kiwi chick, currently designated RFP48, being held by a staff member at the Pukaha Mt Bruce National Wildlife Centre hatchery soon after it hatched from its egg. Photo credit: @PukahaMtBruce

Another photo of kiwi chick, RFP48 being held up for show at Pukaha Mt Bruce.

Another photo of kiwi chick, RFP48, being held up for show at Pukaha Mt Bruce. (Click any photo for a larger image...)

The meaning of 'cute' - a Rimutaka Forest Park Trust chick just a day or so after it hatched from its egg at Pukaha Mt Bruce.

The meaning of 'cute' - a Remutaka Forest Park chick just a day or so after it hatched from its egg at Pukaha Mt Bruce. #RFP47
Photo credit: Pukaha Mt Bruce.

Recent visitors...

US Embassy (NZ) staff with visiting former Chief of Forestry, Dale Bosworth and RFPT President, Geoff Cameron.

US Embassy (NZ) staff with visiting former Chief of United States Forest Service, Dale Bosworth and RFPT President, Geoff Cameron at the Catchpool Centre, Remutaka Forest Park.

Chief Bosworth is in New Zealand on an official US State Department speaking tour, during which time he has visited many forestry-related organisations and research institutions. We were delighted that he came to visit us at the Catchpool on a somewhat damp Friday afternoon to learn more about our conservation-related community volunteer efforts - and to reminisce about forestry matters with another lifetime career forester, Geoff Cameron.
Photo credit: PC.

Trust members with Hutt City Council Mayor, Ray Wallace, at the finalist's dinner for the Wellington Airport Regional Community Volunteers Awards, 2017

Trust members with Hutt City Council Mayor, Ray Wallace, at the finalist's dinner for the Wellington Airport Regional Community  Awards, 2017. Photo credit: Wellington Airport.

Certificate for Heritage & Environment Award won by the Rimutaka Forest Park Trust in August 2017

Rimutaka Forest Park Trust volunteers won the Heritage & Environment award at the 2017 Hutt City Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards too. Well done team!

Heritage & Environment Award certificate for the Rimutaka Forest Park Trust at the Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards 2017

The Heritage & Environment Award certificate presented to the Rimutaka Forest Park Trust at the Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards 2017.

Acoustic recorder on a tree set to record bird song

Acoustic survey of the diurnal bird population in the Remutaka Forest Park

In December of 2015 the Trust deployed acoustic recorders at 75 sites in the Remutaka Forest Park, in order to estimate the relative abundance of diurnal bird species. This was the first time such a comprehensive survey of day birds had been carried out in our region. We followed the counting protocol used by researchers at Victoria University of Wellington. (More...)

Read the full report here: Report: Acoustic Monitoring - RFPT

(Adobe Acrobat Reader format: PDF, approx. 4Mb)

 

RFPT End of Year BBQKiwi Xmas BBQ cartoon - 2018

Members and volunteers with the Rimutaka Forest Park Trust are invited to attend this year's E.o.Y. barbecue, which will be held as usual at the Catchpool Centre, on Sunday 3rd December, from 4pm.

Bring your family along and join in the fun and games!

Trophy won by Rimutaka Forest Park Trust at the Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards, 2017
Trophy won by the Rimutaka Forest Park Trust volunteers at the Wellington Airport Regional Community Awards, 2017.


Kiwi Release

Saturday 29th April, 2017 - 11:50am Update

All three of the birds have now been captured up at the Wairakei Creche. Apparently they all tried to evade capture in a blackberry patch!

Fortunately our kiwi handlers were up to the challenge.

Estimated time of arrival - at the Wainuiomata Marae  - for the first two birds at least, is just after 5:00pm this evening.

We will post futher updates here, and on our FaceBook page, so please stay tuned! PC.

Update @ 3:15pm: Drivers making good progress and still on time for 5pm arrival at Wainuiomata Marae. PC.

Mr Baggins; Chick #1 is also about to be released into the Rimutaka Forest Park

Mr Baggins' Chick #1 is also about to be released into the Rimutaka Forest Park. Photo Credit: Tara Swan.

Busy burrow. Mr Baggins' with both chicks.

Busy burrow. Mr Baggins' with both chicks. One of our Brown kiwi, Mr Baggins, was just two year's old when he began breeding. Here are two of his chicks still in the nest with Dad. They will remain there for only a few more days before venturing out into the big, wide world. Photo Credit: Jo Sim

Missing Kiwi Found!

There were plenty of smiles and much jubilation today when our kiwi chick contractor and dog handler, Jo Sim contacted Melody McLaughlin today to say that her trained kiwi dog 'Rua' had pinpointed kiwi Bilbo's burrow in the Rimutaka Forest Park.

Bilbo (AKA SO12) had been missing for over a year since he dropped his radio transmitter, so it was wonderful to get him back among our monitored kiwi population sample again.

That wasn't the only news. Huddled underneath him for warmth and protection, were two gorgeous wee chicks!

After Bilbo had a shiny new radio tracking transmitter affixed to his leg once more, Jo put the chicks into a container and brought them out of the bush for transfer to the sanctuary at Pukaha Mt. Bruce.

A couple of hours later, Doc kiwi specialist at Pukaha Mt. Bruce, Jess weighed the chicks in at 203 grams (BO1)and 225 grams (BO2) before placing them into separate chick rearing pens for the night.

Following a series of recent egg lifts (Operation Nest Egg) Jess is also managing 4 kiwi eggs taken from burrows in the Rimutaka Forest Park which she informed me, are all progressing well - one has externally pipped and another is about to hatch at any moment!

BNZ Closed For Good

A large group of BNZ Bank employees will be coming out to the Catchpool Valley to plant native trees again this week as part of this year's BNZ Closed For Good Volunteer Day activities.

Jim Pottinger (sitting) during the most recent KAT for dogs weekend

Jim Pottinger (right) talks to a dog owner ahead of his dog's Kiwi Avoidance Training session during a KAT for dogs weekend conducted in November, 2015.

Annual General Meeting

Rimutaka Forest Park Charitable Trust Inc.

Tuesday 20th October 2015 - 7.30pm

Last night's AGM was followed by an excellent and well-received talk by Hugh Robertson, an eminent wildlife scientist & ecologist with long experience in kiwi research. His subject matter was of course NZ kiwi and their prospects for species survival. 'Can the Decline of Kiwi be Reversed?’

Dr Hugh Robertson speaking to members and guests of the Rimutaka Forest Park Trust at their AGM last night.

Dr Hugh Robertson speaking to members and guests of the Rimutaka Forest Park Trust at their 2015 AGM. Photo credit: PC


40 More Dogs Trained to Avoid Kiwi

Jim Pottinger, a canine kiwi aversion trainer registered with DOC, put 40 dogs through the Trust's Kiwi Aversion Training Programme last weekend, bringing the total number of dogs trained at the Catchpool to more than 300 to date.

 21 hunting dogs and 19 pets were put through the system - though these dogs were mainly dogs that attended for reinforcement of their previous training.

 Training habituation lasts 12 or 24 months depending on the dog and follow-up reinforcement training is needed 12 months after the initial session for full certification.

 The Hutt City Council kindly loaned us a microchip reader for use on the day which was very useful.

This training was generously sponsored by BP matching employee volunteer hours through the Charities Aid Foundation in UK.

Next Kiwi Aversion Training Session for Dogs - 7th and 8th November - 2015

The  next Kiwi Aversion Training offered by the Trust will occur in November 2015. Details here...

Book NOW! For more information contact Rosemary Thompson on (04) 569 4764 or 021 044 3279

There will also be an opportunity to have your dog trained to avoid PENGUINS. Details here...

Hunters and their dogs being prepared for the Kiwi Avoidance Training session

Hunting dogs and pets being prepared for their kiwi aversion training session with Jim Pottinger at the Catchpool Centre. The training was provided free because of generous sponsorship from BP matching employee volunteer hours through the Charities Aid Foundation in UK.

Sarah Owen (DOC) with Ian Armitage (RFPT) and Nicky Wagner (Private Secretary for Conservation)

Sarah Owen (DOC) with Ian Armitage (President, RFPT) and Nicky Wagner (Parliamentary Private Secretary for Conservation) following Nicky's speech at the Trust's 25th Anniversary celebration. Nicky and Sarah presented the Trust with a cheque for $10,000 in recognition of the conservation work done by the Trust. (Please click for a larger view.) Image supplied.

Family Tree Planting Day - Catchpool

Sunday 8th September, 2013

Rimu the Kiwi surrounded by children at the Planting Day for families at the Catchpool during Conservation Week 2013

Rosemary Thompson and Rimu the Kiwi surrounded by children at the Planting Day for families at the Catchpool during Conservation Week 2013. (Click for a larger image...) Photo credit: DOC

What a blast! On Sunday a large number of families and many other hardy volunteers came to plant native trees and to enjoy the scenery and abundant wildlife in the Catchpool Valley - the main gateway entrance to the fabulous Rimutaka Forest Park. It was a beautiful, sunny day with very little wind, so conditions were just about perfect.

We supplied the trees, gloves, spades and the team from DOC put on some really nice snacks, a BBQ lunch and hot and cold drinks. Rimu the Kiwi turned up, so the kids had fun during a lovely family outing in very pleasant surroundings. Two very full trailer-loads of native trees were planted.

Species planted included five-finger, northern rata, cabbage trees, nikau, kowhai, totara and karamu.

Kevin Alekna and kiwi dog Maddie with Rush the kiwi

Kiwi dog "Maddie" found male kiwi, "Rush" after he went missing for several weeks due to transmitter failure. Trust kiwi handler Kevin Alekna, shown above holding "Rush", said he was amazed at Maddie’s work rate and blown away when she found the burrow. He put a new radio transmitter on "Rush". There was a bonus too, as they found Rushs' mate, "Elemar" in the same burrow! She was without a transmitter as well, so they weighed and health-checked her too for good measure!
Photo credit Jo Sim. (Click for a larger view...)

The team from Z Energy with their kiwi, Tahi following the blessing at the Wainuiomata Marae

The team from Z Energy with their kiwi, Tahi, following the blessing ceremony at the Wainuiomata Community Marae. (Click for a larger image.) Photo credit: PC

Encore Award Winners, 2012 - Rimutaka Forest Park Trust

Mike White, Ian Armitage and Rosemary Thompson show off the 2012 Encore Award presented to them by Fran Wilde, Chair of the Greater Wellington Regional Council.

Photo credit: Alan Thompson

That night, our President, Ian Armitage, sent out the following email to fellow Trust volunteers...

"A big congratulations to all volunteers in the Rimutaka Forest Park Trust. At the Encore Awards ceremony held at the City Gallery, Wellington City Civic Centre this evening we were judged the winner of the Recreation Volunteers Award.  Well done to you all.  There were four finalists and we were both surprised and delighted to be named.  A close runner up was the Makara Peak Mountain Biking Group".

The Recreation Volunteers Award presented to us by Ms. Fran Wilde, Chair of the Greater Wellington Regional Council, is one of seven categories of the Encore Award (Community Partnerships Award, Kaitiaki Award, Landowners' Conservation Award, School Environmental Project Award, Excellence in Compliance Award, Environmental Protection Award, Recreation Volunteers Award)." 

The Rimutaka Forest Park Trust crew receives their award from Mayor, Ray Wallace 

The Mayor of Hutt City, Ray Wallace presents a 2012 Hutt City Wellington Airport Regional Community Award to The Rimutaka Forest Park Charitable Trust at a ceremony at Silverstream on Tuesday, 18th September. The Trust was the winner in the heritage and environment category. Pictured from left to right are Rosemary Thompson (Vice President) Kelly Anso (Trust Committee) Ray Wallace (Mayor) and Janet Lawson (Trust Committee and Dawn Chorus Coordinator).
Click for a larger image. Photo Credit:-  Ross de Rouffignac.

Updated 5MBC Data

To view a summary of Ian Armitage's latest 5 Minute Bird Count results for the Catchpool Valley and environs, please click here...


New website for community groups

The Nature Space logo

There are hundreds of community restoration groups and individual landowners in New Zealand dedicating time and effort to restore our native ecosystems. The Nature Space website supports these people.

Nature Space is a website for groups, individuals and landowners undertaking ecological restoration in New Zealand. It provides valuable information and resources to assist these community groups in their efforts to preserve and protect our precious and varied landscapes.

The conservation work carried out by these communities is vital not only for the intrinsic value of our biodiversity, but also for the health and prosperity of New Zealand. 

To view the website, or to add your group, click here:

www.naturespace.org.nz