DOC’s Don Herron shares his experiences from his night working as the Duty Ranger on Matiu/Somes Island.Continue Reading...
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We’re celebrating National Volunteer Week (15-21 June 2014). Join us as we share stories of the volunteers who contribute to conservation.
Matiu/Somes Island had been on my list of places to visit in Wellington since I moved here 7 years ago and, when I recently spotted a volunteering opportunity online, I knew it would be a great way to see some of the island and at the same time play my part in helping to protect and restore it.
It was a calm morning when I arrived down on the Wellington waterfront to catch the ferry across to the island.
15 of us showed up (all complete strangers) and we were all keen to get stuck in and help out Rangers Jo and Emma, who live on the island and look after it.
Once on the island we were taken through the biosecurity process and then made our way up to the Visitor Centre.
Jo and Emma had jobs lined up for us and gave us plenty of options to make sure we did jobs that we enjoyed.
I chose some of the more physical jobs and ended up helping regravel some tracks, clear overgrown paths and gutters and clean out the gun emplacements on the top of the island – the last of which offered some amazing 360° views around the harbour.
At lunch time we were able to explore the island and check out the historic lighthouse and quarantine facilities. There was also an array of native species on the island to look out for, including kākāriki, tuatara, giant weta and little blue penguins.
The volunteers were a great group of people and it was the enthusiasm that everyone bought to the day that made sure it was never dull or difficult.
The time seemed to fly by and after a few more jobs after lunch it was time to head back down to the ferry.
A stunning island, a sunny day, some physical activity (who needs a gym?) and meeting a great group of people. What more could you want? I can’t wait to go back and help out again!
By Amy Brasch, Partnerships Ranger, Wellington
An island biosecurity hui was recently held on Matiu/Somes Island to review the best island biosecurity management practices, current biosecurity procedures, and to discuss methods for increasing awareness and participation.
Local iwi, DOC rangers, relevant community groups, island associates and media gathered on Matiu/Somes Island to review the importance of island biosecurity and discuss opportunities for strengthening procedures.
The hui was not only a great opportunity to hear biosecurity ideas and improve our practices, but also to share those ideas with our partners that help us care for these incredible islands. The reality is there will always be biosecurity risks to our islands.
DOC Island Services Rangers and other DOC staff work hard to keep these islands pest-free by putting considerable effort into removing and controlling pests and carrying out appropriate quarantine measures on islands.
Pest plants and animals can have detrimental effects on native biodiversity, so it was great to partner up with local iwi and businesses to figure out ways to keep pest animals and plants off the islands together.