Last month we had the trip of a lifetime visiting Hauturu or Little Barrier Island. What a place. What a jewel. Pest free finally and still has got birds such as saddlebacks, whiteheads, kaka, kiwi, kakariki as well as astonishing botanical treasures like the amazing nikau and other island plants which look splendidily rich almost gigantic with Islanditus. Craggy sheear cliffs encircle the island, landing is wet to the waist in surf on slimy big boulders more often than not. Fortunatley we tinned it with fine weather and our experieanced boatman landed us passengers dry shod on the slipway.
Straightaway the cheekest kaka of all was on to the fact there were new people around, (this bird is the biggest pest on the island and as smart as). Any door left open a crack open will be taken advantage of and jars opened and contents eaten with glee. A visitor in our party eating a sandwich outside was an easy target for Ratbag, he landed on her head and took off with a big mouthful!
Tuatara are held in captivity on the island untill it is certain kiorie (Ratus exultans)are eliminated. We had been invited to join the Haturu Ssupporters group - a trust formed for the Islands interests. , The groups goal is to work with (but not for) DOC and/or whoever is managing the island at the moment - and our mission was to set to work on the tuatara project and search and destroy of pest plants like Elephant Lily. Our group was wide ranging in skills and ages, all open minded champions of nature, lesser known species and individualism. Meeting a group of this staunch type of person is invigorating for us and its great to know you fellas.
Heli-spraying pampas with Gallant by a top team of professionals was underway while we were on the Island. This is a very expensive processs, unfortunately it was decided to kill all sized plants including thousands of small ones in one area only. A far better plan with a plant that can have 1 million seed each as well as being especially designed to be wind borne in a windy climate would be to try and destroy as many flowering plants as possible until more money came a long. It should be mandatory for management to have a basic botanical literacy and hands experience with weeds or they should consult those that do. We also noted with disgust that adjacent areas of the Conservation Estate like Mangawhai Heads are rife with flowering/seeding Pampas. The wind can easily blow such light seed across to the island (and everywhere else), where the difficult terrain makes it a serious job to eradicate.