Project Pikikurunga is the name of the Trusts collective biodiversity work on Takaka Hill private and Public Conservation Land. The Pikikurunga 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 Pikikurunga Range was uplifted along the Pikikurunga 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 see 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 for their Predator Control Project.
This project will increase 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 and its rarer cousin Rhytida O'Conneri. 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 on Takaka Hill.
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 grant.
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 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 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.
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.
MPI Funded Wilding Conifer Control Project
The Trust was awarded the contract for eradicating established wilding conifers from Takaka Hill lands bordering the Abel Tasman and Kahurangi National Parks. The Trust will employ four staff full time for three months through Kaitiaki O Ngahere Ltd who will ensure appropriate training where necessary.
The MPI grant achieves two things for Takaka Hill landowners It helps sustain expert land care work during the post-COVID recession, and it lets the Trust bring forward the complex job of managing wilding conifer growth, stopping seeding into the National Parks.