Archives For Rotorua

DOC Ranger Caraline Abbott discusses dogs and the impact on conservation in the Rotorua District.

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Over summer rangers in Rotorua embarked on a series of initiatives to monitor freshwater species in the Rotorua Lakes area.

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Many of the staff here at the DOC Rotorua Office are keen mountain bikers and we’re pretty excited about our city hosting the first stage of this year’s Crankworx World Tour.

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DOC staff were invited to the Waimangu Volcanic Valley recently to see the results of their conservation projects.

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Weighing just 173 grams, the smallest kiwi chick ever to have hatched at Rotorua’s Rainbow Springs Kiwi Encounter has now arrived and is doing well.

Myfie the tiny kiwi being held at Rainbow Springs.

Myfie the tiny kiwi

Of all species in the world, kiwis are traditionally famed for laying the largest egg in relation to their body size, however this tiny specimen was considerably smaller than the average 700 gram kiwi egg.

On arrival from South Whirinaki Forest in January, the egg’s weight was just 217.6 grams compared to its clutch companion, which weighed in at 442.1 grams.

Myfie and her siblings eggs side by side.

Myfie and her sibling, side by side

Kiwi Encounter Husbandry Manager, Claire Travers believed the tiny egg could have been laid in response to an issue in the mother’s reproductive tract or diet-related.

Naming rights of the North Island brown kiwi were auctioned on Trade Me and raised $1,000 for the National Kiwi Trust.

Now the chick has a name—Myfie. However, proceeds from the auction will only cover around 50% off the costs involved with raising a chick before releasing it into the wild.

Myfie is expected to stay at the centre for between 4-6 months before being released back into the wild by DOC staff. In the interim, Myfie will continue to be monitored daily and can be viewed during Kiwi Encounter tours, which are a major source of fundraising for the kiwi hatchery.

Myfie and her sibling hatched and side by side.

Newly hatched siblings

Kiwi Encounter is New Zealand’s largest and most successful kiwi conservation centre. It has hatched and nurtured over 1,300 eggs since 1995, when Rainbow Springs became involved in the Bank of New Zealand’s kiwi recovery programme, known as ‘Operation Nest Egg’.

Rangers, Caraline Abbott and Amanda Vallis, meet Myfie.

DOC rangers Caraline Abbott (left) and Amanda Vallis (far right) meet Myfie during a behind-the-scenes- tour

Toni Thompson, Rainbow Springs’ Territory Manager gave an update on Myfie’s progress:

“Myfie is doing great and the sponsors who named her got the chance to meet her this weekend. She is gaining weight at a good pace but is still very tiny for his or her age. We still don’t know if Myfie is a male or female but should have DNA results in the next couple of months.

“If she continues on her current weight-gain trajectory, she will go outside into our runs in the next couple of weeks.”

By Rob Griffiths, Community Relations Ranger, Rotorua.

Just over a year ago, inspired by a Te Arawa Lakes Trust initiative, a small project team was formed with the ultimate goal of providing a sanctuary for koaro, a little native fish, in the upper reaches of Hamurana Springs near Rotorua.

The initial focus was on constructing a weir across the stream to help exclude trout, and then later to remove the trout from the upstream side of the spring.

A kaora being held over a bucket

Check out this little sucker

Projects that happen in streams, rivers or lakes around the Rotorua region are never simple! Generally you need resource consent from the regional council, approval from Te Arawa Lakes Trust (as they manage the beds), local iwi require consultation, and often approval is needed from Fish & Game and NIWA. Rather than going through the motions and pushing on alone, a working group that included all the associated organisations was formed and this collective expertise and commitment proved invaluable to the project.

Wading near the Hamurana Spring trout barrier.

Hamurana Spring trout barrier

DOC Ranger Kristina Thompson has been involved since the outset. She felt it was important to involve as many of the relevant organisations as possible as partners in the project. Their approval is one thing, but having them on board as partners in the project brought the added benefit of their skills and knowledge.

The weir is simple in design and construction, having a slightly sloped downstream side to allow koaro to climb, and a grate to repel trout from jumping over. A distinguishing feature of koaro is their ability to climb up very steep surfaces such as waterfalls, dams and even white-baiters’ buckets.

Wader training for iwi helpers.

Iwi wader training

To date, Kristina has been both surprised and delighted with the results of the project. It is the first structure of its kind in the Bay of Plenty and so far the results have been positive. Recent monitoring of koaro above the weir shows that numbers of koaro have sky rocketed, and the waterways they are now found are much more dispersed than previously reported.

Rob Griffiths, a ranger based in the Rotorua Lakes Area Office, takes us along the newly developed mountain bike loop in the Rainbow Mountain Scenic Reserve.

Recent upgrades to tracks and new developments in the Rainbow Mountain Scenic Reserve near Rotorua have created a fantastic mountain bike loop in an amazing geothermal setting.

DOC Ranger Rob Griffiths on the Rainbow Mountain Loop. Photo: Alan Ofsoski.

DOC Ranger Rob Griffiths on the Rainbow Mountain Loop

Already this trail is being touted by locals as the best mountain biking in Rotorua outside of the Whakarewarewa Forest. This new trail is sure to soon be on everyone’s to-do list.

It is a well paced ride/walk but it can be kind of a steep ride up to the summit. The incline gives the perfect reason to take multiple stops to catch your breath and take in the beautiful natural environment, geothermal activity and learn a little along the way.

Crater Lake on Rainbow Mountain.

Quick stop to check out the Crater Lake

Catch your breath (again) at the summit as you soak up the amazing views from the summit. The 360 degree view from the top has been described as the best view “this side of Tongariro”. Next up is a fast and fun descent down to Te Ranga, where you can relax in the cascading waters of the geothermal heated stream.

Team on Rainbow Mountain Loop during the Rotorua Bike Festival. Photo: Alan Ofsoski

Checking out the Rainbow Mountain Loop during the Rotorua Bike Festival.

The Australian Mountain Biking magazine gave a glowing endorsement of Rainbow Mountain during their review of the Rotorua Bike Festival in February pointing out the “geothermal steam rising from the flanking forests and coloured cliffs”.

For more information and a map on the new loop check out the Rainbow Mountain mountain bike loop flyer.

View from the top of Rainbow Mountain. Photo: Alan Ofsoski.

View from the top