To profile this announcement we’ve chosen this photo—taken at sunset in Peach Tree Cove, on Great Mercury Island—for our ‘Photo of the Week’.
Great Mercury Island (also known as Ahuahu) is owned by Sir Michael Fay and David Richwhite. It is located off the coast of the Coromandel Peninsula (seen in the distance in this photo) and is one of seven islands that make up the Mercury Islands. The other six islands are DOC-managed nature reserves.
This has got to be the best office in the world!!!!
The sunrise view of South East Bay from my bunk
I’ve just spent a week with 14 other staff, four volunteers and two owners on Tuhua (Mayor) Island. Whilst the view of the sunrise from my bunk each morning was a great way to start each day, it was certainly no holiday.
Each day we loaded our gear and set off on a range of tasks all over the island, returning at the end of day to eat and fall into bed, exhausted but excited to have made a dent in the long list of jobs we had to complete.
Our hard work was rewarded by regular sightings of rare birds, plants, lizards and marine mammals. Here are just a few of the locals that we saw.
We’ve been working in partnership with the owners (Tuhua Trust Board) for many years to restore the pest-free island and now we’re helping them to make it more accessible for people to enjoy.
I spent three days with our botanist and weed specialists spraying and searching for weeds all over the island, including one day of wading through a wetland, pushing through head-high walls of vegetation in search of the invasive royal fern.
Spray unit loaded and off to spray weeds
The wetland we waded through
My last day was spent helping to fix the floor of the caretakers cottage and shifting firewood.
Eveyone’s skills and expertise were used around the island – upgrading buildings, tracks, water supply, removing massive fallen pohutukawa logs from where they had fallen on top of buildings, cleaning up the ammentity areas, killing weeds, patrolling the Marine Reserve, searching for springs in preparation for our orange-front parakeet transfer coming up in December and checking on the pateke (brown teal) and kiwi that have been released on the island.
Rope & chainsaw skills got put to the test
Dave checked out a cliffside kiwi nest
Chris and John fixed the floor
Tawara cleared the track
Dean & Alastair built a huge firewood pile
As inviting as the water looked, I only managed one swim – the cool water and 2m shark we saw swimming in the bay on our first evening were a little off-putting. But when I did get wet, I took mask & snorkel with me and got to see some beautiful kelp beds, big angel fish and incredibly glossy obsidian.
Click here to find out how you could visit Tuhua – Tauranga’s piece of paradise.