Central Auckland - Annual Report - 2017

Looking back at 2016, we kicked off the year celebrating the 50th anniversary of the first regional park being opened. We Aucklanders' are very fortunate to have access to 26 Regional Parks with that magic combination of bush, beach and farmland.

The work at Taumanu Reserve at the Onehunga foreshore and Selwyn Bush continue to do well thanks to a regular team of volunteers who keep up a weeding and pest management program. A big thanks to all of those involved including Randy Weaver as well as Roger Johnson on our committee who is now using new software called Catch-It to help pinpoint trapping hotspots. It’s great to see new technology being used effectively. However inconsiderate dog owners letting dogs off the leash continue to be a deterrent to nesting off shore birds, especially at Taumanu Reserve.

Our joint project, with Doc and the Wildlife Conservation Trust, on Manukapua/Big Sand Island in the Kaipara for coastal birds including the Fairy Terns has sadly come to an end due to funding restraints. While we have done a great job in reducing predators on the island over the past two years, we have only managed to have Fairy Terns visit and roost on the site, rather than nest. This is still encouraging, however without further funding or grants being made available, our branch must step aside. We are ever hopeful of sourcing more funds for this project to continue. Please let me know if you wish to sponsor any of our projects.

The Balmoral Heights Butterfly Park is just getting better and better. We installed Easy Wasp Traps here from late August and were effective in killing the emerging queen German Wasps. The two species of Copper butterflies released last year seem to be breeding and can be seen on sunny days feeding on hebe flowers and daisies along with the Monarch butterflies. I have also sighted around Auckland the Painted Lady butterfly visiting from Australia as well as newly emerged Yellow Admirals. 

I encourage you to plant NZ Native nettle plants such as Urtica incisa (from Oratia Native Nursery) to encourage Admiral butterflies and muehlenbeckia plants to encourage Copper butterflies and Hebe plants for butterflies to drink nectar from in your garden this winter.

Last month our Branch made a submission against the proposed East West link for trucks to use as a short cut along the Manukau Harbour inlet, passing the Waikaraka Cemetery. There are a variety of birds in this area including Spoonbills, White-faced Herons and Pied Stilts. It is a lovely walkway, which I encourage you to visit.

Our branch hosted the Regional Meeting for the Forest and Bird Northland Branches last month, which was very successful, and I urge you to attend future meetings as they are so inspirational. Kevin Hague encouraged us all to make conservation a focus point for the election and to put pressure on our politicians by asking them all how they will improve conservation in NZ. This will help make conservation a bigger issue at the election than it is at present!

There was also a lecture given to encourage each and every one of us to do pest control in our own backyards….whether it  be for rats, possums, mice or wasps, it all counts!

Our successful Fieldtrips have sadly come to an end and I would like to thank John Hally and his team for all of the work they have put in over the years to make them so enjoyable. 

I am delighted that we have quite a number of new committee members joining us today and we hope that we will soon be able to organise some regular speaker events as well as outdoor events in the future to make up for the end of our fieldtrips.

Our KCC events continue to inspire our conservation kids and Marguerite Pearson and her team are doing a great job with this.

Your Auckland Central Branch has had a busy and successful year and your contributions have helped our wildlife enormously. Thank you for your on going support and thank you to our committee members who keep the ball rolling on so many of our important projects.   

Thank you,
Robert Jones