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Project Pikikirunga

Pikikirunga: 'Climb Up High,' encompasses the Trusts collective name and vision for its habitat restoration and protection projects on Takaka Hill private and neighbouring Public Conservation Land (PCL). The Pikikirunga Range dominates the Takaka Hill and surrounding Golden and Tasman Bays landscape. Author of Rocks and Hard Places - The Takaka Hill, Cliff Turley describes Takaka Hill also known as The Marble Mountain as "The chaotic landscape of marble protrusions, sinkholes, tomo and caves is the outstanding geological feature of the Takaka Hill, a source of fascination to all who pass over it." The Pikikirunga Range was uplifted along the Pikikirunga fault line to form the steep western scarp rising above the Takaka Valley with a gentler dip to the Riwaka Valley. Takaka Hill's unique geology and location has seen the evolution of equally unique indigenous flora and fauna that the Trust is working hard to restore and protect.

National Park Halo Predator Control Project

The Trust successfully applied to the DOC Community Conservation Fund in 2020 and the Lotteries Environment and Heritage 2020 Fund for their Predator Control Project.

This project aims to protect populations of indigenous species and reintroduced species spreading out from Abel Tasman National Park and Kahurangi National Park by controlling rats, stoats and possums on Takaka Hill private land located between these two National Parks.

 

This will contribute to improving New Zealand indigenous biodiversity by improving ecosystem health to increase the populations of the nationally vulnerable Whio as they spread from  ATNP into the upper reaches of the Otuwhero River which flows through Takaka Hill private land. Other species such as the reintroduced Kaka and Pateke will also spread out onto private land.

 

There are native species that already inhabit private land such as one of New Zealand's most threatened invertebrates the giant carnivorous land snail Powelliphanta hochstetteri and its rarer cousin Rhytida O'Connori. Powelliphanta hochstetteri and the pale yellow P. hochstetteri, hochstetteri are found on Takaka Hill private land. The nationally endangered Kea also inhabit Takaka Hill and a host of other natives species including species yet to be discovered and described in the many tomo and cave systems underneath Takaka Hill.

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Takaka Hill Pest Plant Survey Project

A comprehensive pest plant survey of private land on Takaka Hill was undertaken by ecological restoration specialists Kaitiaki-o-Ngahere Ltd, funded by the 2019 DOC Community Conservation fund.

The outcome of the survey was the Takaka Hill

Pest Plant Management Strategy 2020-2040 and the Takaka Hill Pest Plant Action Plan 2021-2025.

 

Controlling and eradicating introduced pest plants is an important part of restoring and protecting habitats where native species can thrive. The photo to the left shows an Old Mans Beard seedling (Clematis vitalba) in a mature Beech forest in the Riwaka Resurgence area of Kahurangi National Park. Left uncontrolled this vine will spread throughout the forest changing the ecology and the forest canopy.

Hawke's Lookout Project

The Trust signed a Community Agreement with DOC Motueka in September 2020 to support DOC's work on Public Conservation Land on Takaka Hill. The agreement includes, planting, clearing and invasive weed control, predator and pest animal control.

 

Last September the Trust tidied the Hawke's Lookout entrance and cleared an area for native plantings which were protected with biodegradable sleeves purchased for the Trust by Ravensdown. PPE gear was also provided by Ravensdown. The Network Tasman Trust provided the funds to purchase the equipment needed to carry out the work.

The Trust is currently propagating rare natives from Takaka Hill landowner properties that will be used on Hawke's Lookout and other native restoration areas on Takaka Hill.

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Takaka Hill Community Recycling Depot Project

The Trust's successful application to the Tasman District Council 2020 community Grant, resulted in the Takaka Hill residents community recycling depot which opened in November 2020. Previously residents would need to take their recycling to the Mairiri Recycling Centre over 30km away. 

 

Thanks to Ravensdown Ngarua Lime works who provided the land, earthworks, depot construction materials and ongoing recycling management, Takaka Hill residents now only have to travel  a couple of kilometres to drop off their recycling.

 

Working with TDC Waste Management, Waka Kotahi NZTA and Smart Environmental Ltd the Trust was able to ensure the depot met all the safety requirement for the safe pick up of recycling on a State Highway.

Takaka Hill Wilding Pine MPI Community Partnership Project

Through funding made available by the Ministry of Primary Industries' Community Partnership Projects Fund, we have been given $250,000 for Year 2 and 3 of our wilding pine control work on Takaka Hill.

 

In 2020, $119,750 funding was provided for the first Year of the project which was completed in May 2021.

 

Work in the next two years will look to further expand upon that initial control and also undertake significant control on public conservation land within Abel Tasman and Kahurangi National Parks.

Wilding pine control is weather (and now alert level) dependent but is planned to begin mid-September.

 

Funding to continue with the wilding pine control project is an important part of our 30 year strategy to restore and protect the unique limestone/marble karst ecosystems on over 4500 ha of the Takaka Hill private land corridor.

 

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Powelliphanta hochstetteri Monitoring Project

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One of the Trusts biodiversity indicator species is the at

risk carnivorous Ngata nui (giant land snail) Powelliphanta hochstetteri.

This snail is named for Ferdinand Hochstetter (1829-1884), whose scientific visit to New Zealand in the 1850s is recognised as the launch of geological science in this country. Hochstetter studied the Takaka Hill lands on his Nelson Provincial Government survey of the region's mineral deposits in 1859, and noted in his logbook that he had also sought out what he called 'The Great Helix,' having been shown giant snail shells by several Takaka and Riwaka settlers.

The Trust has established a 70 x 70 metre mark-recapture monitoring plot on the Takaka Hill Walkway where populations have evolved on the limestone/marble karst underlying sub-alpine beech forest habitat. The karst cracks and fissures provides some protection for the snails against introduced rats, possum and pig. New Zealand's native weka and climate change impact on soil moisture are also a major threat to its survival.

The longitudinal monitoring of P. hochstetteri will provide valuable information on how we can best protect this native taonga.