OLG News - 29,000 plants in the ground- so far!

On Saturday 8 September 2018 eighty-five people came along to Bushy Point in Otatara to help with the annual Otatara Landcare Group (OLG) planting project. In the Year 2000 (you remember, that year everything electronic was going to stop!) Barry Smith came up with the “2000 in 2000” project. The idea was that every resident of Otatara would plant a native tree at Bushy Point. Now, 18 years later we are onto our 29000th tree. It’s a big OLG effort supported by the community and it seems to go from strength to strength. The aim of joining up two areas of bush (the totara forest and the regenerating kahikatea forest) has largely happened and large area of former paddock are now a flourishing regeneration area. For those not so familiar with the project it also got an injection of enthusiasm and funding in 2011 from the Rugby World Cup (well the Tindall Foundation under the banner of the world cup) supporting a project in every region of the country by funding the purchase of native plants and their maintenance for the following three years. On the ground that meant an extra 10,000 plants in three years. The large turn-out of people in September meant that the 1000 locally grown plants were in the ground by lunchtime – snug under their combi-guards (to prevent rabbit browse) and we were all tucking into a well-earned BBQ sausage. Planting days are great for their camaraderie and fun – it’s a family day and it is gratifying to see so many children who will remember planting here and visiting in years to come. Bushy Point is Department of Conservation land where the OLG has a 30 year lease to convert the paddocks back to nature. It is open space, available to everyone and has walkways, a pond, native planting, tracks and interpretation – check it out, access from the end of Bryson Road, Otatara.

Omaui takes next step in saving it's birds

After having been trapping for possums, mustelids and rats over the last few years, the Omaui Landcare Group now have their sights on another predator, the cat. In the Southland Regional Pest Management Plan, currently out for submissions, the rule has been proposed that domestic cats be neutred and chipped, and that only those cats already living in Omaui be allowed to live out their natural life, with no new ones to be brought in. This is recognising the damage that cats cause to the native birds, lizards and insects living in the bush so close to Omaui township’s back door. The Groups main concern is to eradicate the feral cat population, however they also realise that even the pet moggy can do harm.

Fiordland Trails Trust hit Barberry and Cotoneaster

At the beginning of September, the Fiordland Trails Trust began a war on the weeds, barberry and cotoneaster, growing along the side of the Waiau River. With the development of the bike trail along the upper Waiau River, this has made access to these areas easier, and brought the issue more to light. Keen members of the Trails Trust, lead by Trust weed control manager, Sue Marwick, carried out a days work on a badly infested area at the start of the track near the Marakura Yacht Club. Another volunteer day will be organised in the future, so if you’re a keen ‘weedie’ watch out for this!

Tumu Toka - from the Petrified Forest to the Living Forest

Another large planting session at Curio Bay with over 3,000 natives going in the ground, has seen the South Catlins Charitable Trust complete their restoration plan which joins their forest remnant through to the flaxland on the cliffs looking over the fossilised forest below. Once the shrubs and trees grow up it will provide great habitat for the yellow eyed penguins, that even last year were nesting close to where the work on the new car park and information centre was going on. If you haven’t already visited the new Tumu Toka Curioscape it is well worth a visit, with excellent interpretation of the local wildlife and history. This has all been a great effort by the local people and agencies who have worked together to make it happen. Find out more at

Saddleback on Rona Island

Congratulations to the hardworking team on the Pomona Island Charitable Trust who have achieved one of their early goals - to reintroduce saddleback (tieke) back to the area. The Trust has put a great deal of effort in to making Rona Island predator free (including the difficult target of mice) to make this possible. With the reintroduction of the South Island Robin to Pomona Island in 2009, it is wonderful to read in their March newsletter that at the December bird count, the robin was the top bird accounted for on the island. Their other exciting find on Pomona Island was the empty shell of a native snail, which even the experts at Te Papa weren’t sure if it was an identified species. To read more about the activities of the Pomona Island Charitable Trust check out their website at