On the weekend of 29 and 30 July, 40 volunteers including students and staff from Coromandel Outdoor Language Centre joined forces with the Department of Conservations Rangers to brave the frosty mornings on Mahurangi.
These ventures mark major milestones towards making Mahurangi a more accessible experience for visitors and establishing critical infrastructure to support better species monitoring.
On the way to Mahurangi
The ride out to the Island aboard the M.V Whai was glorious, and suitably calm to allow for the tricky landing on the island. Once the first steep ascent was tackled, the clothing layers started to peel off and everyone was well warmed up and keen to get on with the days tasks.
The mission objective - cut and re-establish the track towards the southern end of the island.
Expriencing native wildlive including gecko and giant wētā
Within minutes of starting the work there were shrieks of delight as the first gecko was spotted. The common gecko, (Woodworthia maculatus) are abundant on the island and it was great to see the team getting an opportunity to experience New Zealand native wildlife.
Keen-eyed conservationist 9 year old Mia Bentley made an amazing discovery, finding the rear leg of a giant wētā. Mia went on to find hundreds more legs and other body parts and it was not long before two live giant wētā were spotted!
A population of Mahoenui giant wētā were translocated to the island nearly 18 years ago. DOC has been trying to confirm if they had survived on the unofficial “predator free” island so this was an extremely significant discovery!
A nice view
The team cut an astonishing 1,200 meters of walking track, cleared several viewing points and removed countless pest plants. It was an amazing achievement, and everyone went home happy with the sense of a job well done.
Mahurangi as a recreation reserve is open for the public to visit. We ask you to be considerate of the environment and other visitors and not leave rubbish on the island. Also check your boat and bags for potential stowaways such as weed seeds and rats! There are no toilet facilities on Mahurangi so don’t forget to go before you go!
There is still plenty of work left on the island and we will be planning more trips soon.
Without the support of our conservation volunteers and proactive community groups we would be unable to achieve such fantastic outcomes. A big, big thank you to all the volunteers that have helped us so far, you are all true conservation superstars!