The Remutaka Conservation Trust is a community group committed to protecting and restoring the landscape and native wildlife of the Remutaka Forest Park located near New Zealand's capital city, Wellington.
The park - and mountain range - were recently renamed to 'Remutaka Forest Park' and 'Remutaka Range' following a Treaty settlement with Wairarapa and Southern Hawkes Bay iwi (Rangitāne o Wairarapa & Rangitāne o Tamaki nui-ā-Rua). (Details here...)
Remutaka Forest Park is a magnificent area of mostly native forest in the hills east of Wellington.
It encompasses the Remutaka Ranges and the Orongorongo River, just north of the spectacular earthquake terraces and seal colony at the Turakirae Head Scientific Reserve.
The Park is characterised by steep, bush-clad hills and narrow fern-filled valleys cut by abundant freshwater streams and the beautiful Orongorongo River. Throughout the park, there are many well-formed and signposted walking tracks appealing to bushwalkers and nature lovers of every age and state of fitness.
This 22,500 hectare park is easily accessed by road from Wellington or Lower Hutt. Simply take the hill road to Wainuiomata and follow the signs to the Coast Road/ Remutaka Forest Park and then turn left at the Catchpool Stream access road into the Park. (See Map)
The Remutaka Conservation Trust is committed to preserve and restore the natural biodiversity and historic resources of the Remutaka Forest Park valleys and environs... (More)
*** This year we celebrate our 33rd anniversary since the Trust was formed in 1988 ***
View our latest PressR/ Newsletter here:
Remu-talker November 2021 (PDF ~7.16MB)
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 enthusiastically presenting his update on their exciting project to restore a population of kiwi to Wellington's "backyard". Photo credit: PC.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Fabulous rare sighting of a Forest Ringlet butterfly (Dodonidia helmsii) in the Remutaka Forest Park - seen here on Astelia and Gahnia. Photo credit: Gillian Candler.
These brightly-coloured endemic butterflies were once common here, and in the neighbouring East Harbour Regional Park to
our west, but they are now quite rare and apparently in decline for as yet
unexplained reasons. (Introduced wasps and other predators like
rats, possums and hedgehogs? Habitat
loss? Pathogens or parasites? Collectors? No-one is absolutely certain...)
The photo above was taken by award-winning children's author and keen tramper, Gillian Candler, whilst on a hike through our kiwi zone in the Remutaka Forest Park.
Please keep an eye out for these beautiful 'solar sailors' when you're out and about in the Park. Use the iNaturalistNZ app if you have your smartphone and/or camera handy for rapid, expert confirmation of your observations. More information about these remarkable butterflies and their life-stages here:
These nocturnal slugs (Pseudaneitea sp.) are found in native bush and forests and graze on fungi and algae on leaf surfaces. One of our kiwi handlers, Susan Ellis, was up on McKerrow Track at around midnight the other night deploying acoustic recorders and listening for kiwi calls, when she and visiting Canadian, Nancy Covington, observed this fascinating creature. There are more than 23 native species of this family.
Our forests and streams come alive at night, with many nocturnal species. Native freshwater fish, Land planaria, weta and millipedes are also frequently observed.
What's hidden down there in that deep, dark burrow? Here's a really good way to reveal all!
Read all about Alan Thompson's Kiwi Spy device here:
Why not join us?
New members are always welcome!We have many different and interesting roles to fill for keen volunteers. Learning opportunities abound and you'll enjoy the company of many great characters among our existing members! Perhaps you have some specialist skills that you'd like to contribute to assist us in attaining our long-term goals and objectives? If so, please complete the Membership Application Form here... and send it in to the Membership Secretary by mail or email. (For address details, click here...
New Interpretive Signs
Unveiling of Bird Interpretation Panels, Rimutaka Forest Park
To conclude last year’s shared celebration of National Parks, the Department of Conservation, the US Embassy, and Rimutaka Forest Park Charitable Trust unveiled a series of native bird information panels for the Catchpool Valley of the Remutaka Forest Park, near Wellington.
The ceremony on Tuesday December 20 commenced with a blessing from representatives of the Wainuiomata Community Marae.
The dedication and short welcoming remarks from the President of the Trust, Geoff Cameron, was followed by brief addresses by the US Embassy NZ's representative, Rob Tate and also from Department of Conservation representative, Jack Mace.
The construction of the panels was made possible by a grant from the U.S. Embassy which then worked with the Trust on the design of the information panels about native bird species.
“We are very grateful for the grant from the U.S. Embassy towards this natural history-environmental management project. It helps to celebrate 100 years of the U.S. National Parks Service in 2016 and helps New Zealanders learn about the native birds they are encountering in the Catchpool Valley,” says Geoff Cameron, President of the Rimutaka Forest Park Trust.
Embassy Public Affairs Officer Rob Tate says that the shared year-long project to celebrate the importance of national parks and mark 100 years of the US National Park Service has been something the Embassy has been deeply committed to.
“Working with DOC, various iwi, and environmental trusts we have taken part in a huge range of activities. We have done the traditional planting of trees, and also done things like assisting in monitoring native bird habitats and walking the Tongariro Alpine Crossing with Ambassador Gilbert. We brought out a US Park Service Ranger from Hawaii to share best practices with her New Zealand counterparts, and the Senior Advisor on Native American Affairs at the White House to discuss the role of indigenous peoples in stewardship of natural spaces. We hope that all of these projects will continue to bear fruit well into the future,” he says.
“The team from the Rimutaka Forest Park Trust have been a delight to work with and it has been so rewarding to be involved in another project that will educate future generations about the importance of taking care of our natural heritage,” he adds.
Photo of one of the 7 new bird interpretation panels installed at the Catchpool Valley road end. These informative 2m tall signs assist visitors to recognise some of the many beautiful native birds present in the Remutaka Forest Park. (Click for more information). Photo credit: PC.