Friends of Mana Island are celebrating 20 years of restoration work this year. We would like to tip our hat to our long-term partners for their immense hard work. We invite you to take sneak peek at photos from their new exhibition at Pataka Gallery in Porirua and read about a slice of conservation history
The story of how we began…
In the winter of 1998, DOC approached a team of volunteer planters to canvass support for setting up a group for the ongoing restoration of Mana Island. At a meeting of interested parties in October, Friends of Mana Island (FOMI) was born.
This was a bold move by volunteers who recognised the need to support DOC’s work. The group dedicated itself to raising funds for projects that weren’t high priorities for DOC but were an important part of restoring Mana Island’s ecosystem. It built upon a decade of work mainly by Forest & Bird and tramping club volunteers before FOMI was formed.
The restoration work has been guided by an overall ecological restoration programme developed in 1999 for Mana Island. FOMI’s vision is for Mana Island to be a self-sustaining Cook Strait indigenous ecosystem.
FOMI’s specific goals are to promote and enhance the scientific reserve on Mana Island, and to provide financial, material and physical support for projects and work approved by DOC.
Before conservation work began
Mana Island was farmed for more than 150 years before the last stock were removed in 1986. A mouse eradication project led by DOC and Forest & Bird was completed in 1989, making the island predator and rodent free.
Tree planting has transformed the island
From 1987, DOC’s main focus was planting trees, with a 20-year programme for this. More than 500,000 trees and shrubs were planted, with volunteer groups at the forefront.
In 2000, FOMI took over management of the planting which is now largely complete. It has created a swathe of low forest and open shrublands on the island.
The island’s restored habitat provides a sustainable environment for endangered species, including takahē which are thriving on the island. It is also an ideal environment for the Cook Strait giant wētā, and endangered lizards and birds.
Friends of Mana Island-led projects
Since its formation, FOMI has contributed thousands of volunteer hours to tree planting, hand-feeding translocated seabird chicks, installing seabird nest boxes, weeding, bird and lizard monitoring, and many other tasks. Projects are undertaken in collaboration with DOC and Ngāti Toa Rangatira, mana whenua of Mana Island.
FOMI has also raised sponsorship funds for bird and lizard transfers, bird attraction and monitoring equipment, subsidised transport for tree planters, and other projects to assist DOC.
As a result of all this hard work over many years, Mana Island’s biodiversity is taking off – the birds and lizards are prolific, and the plantings are well established.
A team of FOMI guides regularly leads trips for visitors to Mana Island. We invite you to join us and experience for yourself this precious taonga.
Visit Pataka Gallery
Thoughout the month of August, a photographic history of FOMI and scale model of the island will be on display at Pataka Gallery, Porirua. Join them each Sunday afternoon for a series of expert speakers to explore the fascinating species and projects on the island.