Pirongia pest project offers piece of your own forest
MATTER OF TRUST: Pirongia Te Aroaro o Kahu Restoration Society committee members, Ken Allen (left) and Steve McClunie explain how the bait stations are used in the pest eradication programme to sponsors’ representatives Keith Pain, area manager for The Southern Trust, Janet McLennan of Masonic Hotel and Teresa Manion (right), area manager for Pub Charity. 109071AD
By Grant Johnston
A project to eradicate pests from a high profile segment of Mt Pirongia forest is reaching an exciting stage. And members of the public now have a chance to participate in the project through sponsoring their own one hectare block in the pest free area.
Last year funding from The Southern Trust enabled Pirongia Te Aroaro o Kahu Restoration Society to establish a track and bait station grid in the 250ha Mangakaraa Project - adjacent to Pirongia Forest Park Lodge off Grey Road. The $21,589 grant from the trust also provided purchase of traps and toxin. Department of Conservation funded $16,316 worth of bait stations.
Phase 1 of pest control (laying of poison) was carried out recently by contractors EcoFX and funded by a further grant of $10,000 from The Southern Trust and $20,000 from Pub Charity (which both distribute profits from gaming machines to community groups).
Clare St Pierre, chairperson of the Restoration Society, says they are delighted with project progress, not just recently but also the background work carried out since 2004 to establish the project.
She says Mangakaraa is a special place with magnificent mature native trees and a beautiful stream.
“Even though Pirongia’s extensive forest habitat could provide the food needed by our native birds, few are present because they are being preyed upon by introduced pests such as possums, rats, stoats, weasels and feral cats. Without help from our generation, the forest and birds will be condemned to a hopeless cycle of decline and loss.”
Mrs St Pierre says it is time to hear kokako and kiwi on the mountain again.
The Sponsor a Hectare brochure invites individuals/families to sponsor a hectare ($30 for one year or $250 for 10 years) as well as inviting corporates to take one year and 10 year sponsorships, ($35 per hectare for one year or $300 for 10 years, minimum of two hectares). Sponsorship covers maintenance of tracks, bait stations and traps, toxin purchase and pest monitoring costs.
Sponsors will receive a Mangakaraa Certificate acknowledging their contribution, have their name placed on the sponsorship map and receive regular updates on the restoration project. Corporate sponsors can have their logo on the map and can name their allocated area.
For more information about the project or the Restoration Society see www.mtpirongia.org.nz. To be posted a sponsorship brochure, phone Mrs St Pierre at 871 9133 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. An article outlining Pub Charity’s involvement with the project is printed on page 5.