SERN Fiordland Focus Weekend

18 - 20 November 2022

Thanks to everyone who helped to make our SERN Fiordland Focus weekend in November such a success. We began on the Friday night with a presentation from Paul and Lynley King, of the Pomona Island Charitable Trust (sadly Trust Chairman,John Whitehead, was indisposed.) John and Lynley’s enthusiasm for their task in pest eradication on both Pomona and Rona, in the face of both mice and rat incursions this year, was inspiring. Lynley’s interest in the lizard life on the islands adds another dimension to the Trust’s work there. We were left with a feeling of great anticipation for the boat ride to the islands the next day. Saturday dawned fine and pleasant, lending itself nicely to both the Home Creek vist, where Edith Jones outlined the development of the restoration project there, followed by planting/planting maintenance, and the alternative activity - the boat ride across Manapouri. With conditions being perfect, we were able to get off the boat at both Pomona and Rona. It was very interesting to see the techniques the Pomona Trust was using for their predator control, with maze boxes for traps and bait, automatic lure dispensers and night cameras, all helping to control pests and record what’s happening when no-one’s there. The Saturday afternoon began with an update from Anna Harris, Environment Southland Biodiversity team, also Walter Fielde from the ES Pest Plant team. These were followed by talks on the work of Fiordland Trails Trust (Tony Ciaffoni) and Jobs for Nature cotoneaster & barberry control programme ( Sue Marwick),Te Kōawa Mahinga Kai Restoration (Vanessa Horwell), Wilding Pine Control at Mid Dome (Richard Bowman), Forest & Bird’s Te Rere and Otatara Landcare Group’s Bushy Point (Brian Rance), Reforest Southland (Josie Blackshaw), along with an overview from Pete McLelland on animal pest control. At the DOC Te Anau Auditorium that evening we heard briefly from DOC Senior Community Ranger, Crystal Brindle, about the many groups that are working in the Fiordland area, which were displayed on a map. The main speaker for the evening, Campbell Leckie, gave an entertaining update on Predator Free Rakiura. Sunday morning saw us visit the Lower Upukerora Restoration site to hear from George Ledgard about the predator control and education programme the group are working on there, along with Anja Kohler, who does regular bird monitoring of the area. The final stop was at Rakatu where Roger Hodson, recently appointed Waiau Trust field officer (replacing the long serving Mark Sutton), accompanied us for a walk along the top of the ridge, looking out over the wetlands that are well established now, with much natural regeneration.

Thanks go to Environment Southland for their sponsorship of the Fiordland Focus Weekend.