The Nursery if sull of trees ready for the winter 2012 plantings at the Parangarahu Lakes Block.  Trees will be planted in the sixth plot on the edge of Lake Kohangatera and there will be supplementary planting of the first 5 plots.  Plantings will start June/July.

If you wish to be involved in the plantings email MIRO.

After extensive pest monitoring and control, MIRO received permission from DOC to translocate a further 40 North Island Robin from Kapiti to the Northern Forest Block in April 2012. 
MIRO raised over $7,800 to fund the translocation.  All 40 Robins were successfully released in EHRP.


North Island Robins Re-Appear!!

We missed seeing any robins during our big search on 24 October, but less a week later they were sighted in the park!!! Three birds - two banded and one unbanded were seen in an area that was thoroughly searched by our monitoring teams. This confirms our suspicions that we conducted our park-wide search on a 'bad day for robins', whatever that might be.

We will need to perform a repeat large-scale search at some time but it won't be this year as we don't want to overly stress the birds while they are nesting.

We will keep people informed of any developments with the robins via MIRO newsletters and news reports on our website.

Back to Top

North Island Robin Search Draws A Blank

Thanks very much for giving up your time to help MIRO search the East Harbour Forest Block for robins on Saturday, 24 September 2011. The number of people involved meant we had comprehensive coverage of the likely robin habitats south of Mt Lowry. We really appreciate the work you put in.

Thats the good news.

The bad news is that not one of us saw a robin. This was somewhat surprising, given the thoroughness of the search and the fact that we have been having regular, credible sightings until very recently.

There are at least two possible explanations:

  • The most likely, is that the conditions on the day were simply not suitable for the robins to react to us. Robins can be cryptic and this has happened to us before with known birds in the park, where on some days they readily make an appearance and on others they don't appear, for reasons we don't understand.
  • A more pessimistic explanation is that the recent three days of snow and hail was too much for them and that the birds have died. While this is possible, we also know that North Island Robins can handle snow in other parts of the country (although the birds released from Kapiti would not be used to such cold weather). However, some areas of the park are more sheltered than others and its a bit of a stretch, though not impossible, that the entire population was wiped out.

As it is likely that there are still robins in the park, despite the results of the search, we will continue to look for them on a less structured basis. We invite anyone who is in the park over the coming months to be on the lookout and to use the techniques from last Saturday to call them in. If you make a sighting, please let me know about it, preferably with banding details if present.

So thanks again for your efforts. If we get credible sightings in the future we will let you know about them.

Back to Top

North Island Robin Release A Success

In April 2011 MIRO, DOC, GWRC and other volunteers successfully translocated 40 North Island Robins from Kapiti Island to the East Harbour Regional Park.  This was made possible by the extensive planning and fund raising by MIRO members.

February 2011 BBQ A Success

Doug Mercer - Chairman
The annual MIRO BBQ was held on Saturday February 26th at the usual venue of the Days Bay Playcentre. The weather was kind to us and nearly 50 members and associates took the opportunity to socialise, catch-up with what others have been doing, and celebrate all the good
work that has been put in over the past year.

Greater Wellington Regional Council provided and cooked the food. We anticipate that next summer's BBQ will return to the usual date of around the end of November or beginning of December.

Our 'Chef' - Gareth Cooper Kim Workman (DOC) Some of Our Attendees

Back to Top

Great Rata Walk 2011

Northern RataOn Sunday February 20th the annual MIRO-sponsored Giant Rata Journey was held. Supported by the Greater Wellingon Regional Council, a group of MIRO volunteers led interested members of the public on a walk to see the giant rata in the heart of the East Harbour Regional Park behind Eastbourne.

The five hour walk from
Days Bay was fully subscribed and the public were provided with interpretation by the MIRO volunteers throughout the day. Despite a challenging off-track descent from Middle Ridge to the MacKenzie Track, feedback to date has been positive and we certainly intend to repeat the walk next summer.

Back to Top

February 2011 - MIRO Picks Up Burdan's Gate Trap Line

A recent development has seen MIRO volunteers extending their trapping activities along the Pencarrow Coastline. From February 2011, six MIRO volunteers will be monitoring the 28 Mustelid traps between Burdans Gate and the Pencarrow lighthouse. 

On Sunday 30 January 2011, Wellington Regional Council Bio Security Officer, Gary Sue conducted an induction course on the safe handling of the traps.  These traps will be monitored on a monthly basis by  a rotating roster of MIRO volunteers.  Long term MIRO volunteer Phil Benge commented that the training was very worthwhile and remarked that it is “high noon” for stoats along the Pencarrow Coast.

Back to Top

Official Opening of the MIRO Nursery at the Geological and Nuclear Sciences Site

Fifty people turned up to celebrate the official opening of the MIRO Nursery at its new site at the GNS National Isotope Centre on Friday 5 March. Officials attending included, Dr Alex Malahoff Chief Executive GNS, Greater Wellington Regional Councillors Fran Wilde and Prue Lamason, Mayor Ogden from Hutt City, Liz Mellish and Mark Te One from the Wellington Tenths Trust. Rob Stone, Department of Conservation, Stan Butcher and Steve Gentry from Lower Hutt Forest and Bird and a number of Greater Wellington staff also attended along with MIRO volunteers.

A Lily

Officials at potting table
(Photo by Margaret Low GNS Science)

A Fuchsia plant

Mayor David Ogden speaking to the

A crazy looking Allium flower

Guests milling around

A Robin sitting on a fence

Plants in the Nursery

In 2009 GNS generously offered MIRO the use of the land at the National Isotope Centre for the MIRO Nursery which is propagating trees for the restoration of the Parangarahu Lakes Block in East Harbour Regional Park. The site is ideal, offering security, a sunny aspect, lots of space and a central location for volunteers. MIRO moved on to the site in late December and work parties started in earnest in January.

The opening was a chance to thank GNS for supporting this important restoration initiative. Thanks are also due to funders of the project – Pub Charity, Lion Foundation, Hutt Mana Energy Trust, the Ron Greenwood Environmental Trust and Lower Hutt Forest & Bird.

Back to top

North Island Robins are Breeding in the Park

Unbanded robin Feb 2010

In February, on a walk into the Gollans catchment, MIRO Volunteers Colin Ross and Rob Finch saw and photographed a juvenile robin near the banks of Gollans Stream. The first un-banded bird sighted this season and welcome evidence that breeding has been occurring.

The robins were first released into the Butterfly Creek catchment in the winter of 2008 but almost all have moved east into Gollans, and beyond. Although this has made monitoring very difficult, 12 of the original birds released have been recorded.

We encourage those of you out walking in the Park, especially in the Gollans Stream area, to keep a watch out for robins and contact us if you see any.

Karearea Nesting in EHRP

North Island Robin / Toutouwai, Petroica australis longipes

Native bush falcons have been resident in EHRP for some years and usually at least one nest has been observed during the breeding season.  However this year two nests have been sighted, one in York Bay and one near Butterfly Creek.

Both have a couple of chicks which are well on the way to fledging.  It is most likely that extensive predator control undertaken by MIRO volunteers and Greater Wellington Regional Council is contributing to the breeding success of the falcons in the Park.

Photo: Richmond Atkinson

Giant Rata Walk

On Sunday 10 January, 28 people joined MIRO for the annual Giant Rata Journey as part of the Greater Wellington Summer Programme. The walk starts in Days Bay and climbs 343m up the Kereru Track through the beech forest to the prolific stands of Northern rata trees. Participants enjoyed extensive views of the rata in flower along the ridge tops and the opportunity to experience the forest off-track, with a meander down middle ridge through the centre of the Mainland Island.

Back to Top

MIRO Nursery Shifts to GNS

On Friday 18 December several thousand plants and equipment were relocated onto our new Nursery site. With lots of willing hands, the shift went very quickly and smoothly. We look forward to starting work there in the New Year and also to having an official opening which which will give everyone an opportunity to have a look at the operation.

Many thanks to all our volunteers for your work throughout 2009 and Best Wishes for 2010.

Incorporation and Registration as a Charitable Entity

At a meeting on 5 June 2009 the members present voted unanimously to apply to the Registrar of Incorporated Societies for incorporation under the Incorporated Societies Act, and to apply to the Charities Commission for charitable status.
By 30 July 2009, MIRO had been incorporated and had been registered as a charitable entity under the Charities Act 2005.


Winter Planting Parangarahu June 2009

Seventeen MIRO Volunteers and two Greater Wellington staff had cold but clear conditions to plant 750 trees in the third plot on the western side of Lake Kohangatera on Sunday, as part of the restoration of Parangarahu.
Pioneer species, including large numbers of mahoe, karamu, taupata and ngaio were planted closely at metre intervals in what was formerly pasture. Plots are fenced to exclude rabbits, hares and any stock that may intrude from adjacent farms. Possum traps will also be placed in the plot to prevent any stray possums browsing on the new vegetation.
Plots one and two were planted in 2007 and 2008 respectively. To compensate for losses, these two plots will be topped up with extra trees by more volunteers in the second winter planting on Friday 12 June.


New Possum Trap Lines and New Volunteers

Greater Wellington Park Ranger and a volunteer setting a possum trap
  Volunteer setting a possum trap
New MIRO volunteers spent part of ANZAC Day in the East Harbour Regional Park learning the fine art of setting possum traps. The two new trap-lines running on spurs up to the ridge and back down have been added in Lowry Bay by Greater Wellington for MIRO. While possum catches by MIRO volunteers continue to fall overall in the Park, it was thought that some pockets not being reached in the large Lowry catchment needed attention.
New volunteers looking after a possum trap line
A volunteer spreading the lure around a possum trap
New MIRO recruits Pete and Doug have volunteered to look after these two new lines. The possum master kill traps are fixed to trees, a non-toxic long-lasting cereal bait is put in the trap and a flour lure containing icing sugar and aniseed is spread on the trunk below the trap. This acts as both a visual and olfactory lure for any possums that may be around. A nearby rat bait station is also topped up, to keep rats from targeting the possum bait. The volunteers will return each fortnight to remove any dead possums and re-bait traps.
In the absence of fences to keep predators out of the Park, MIRO volunteers must ensure that traps are serviced regularly to keep predator levels low. This requires a huge effort by volunteers, but one that will be rewarded by big returns for the flora and fauna of the Park.


North Island Robins Breeding in East Harbour

Global Volunteers carrying out their routine monthly possum trapping in Gollans Valley have made the first sighting of an unbanded robin in East Harbour. All the North Island robins introduced to the Park last winter were fitted with coloured leg bands so that birds could be individually identified.
North Island Robin / Toutouwai, Petroica australis longipesThe find by Global Volunteers in March 2009 of a bird with no bands is firm evidence that at least one pair of birds has bred successfully. Global Volunteer, Jamie Poe, managed to snap a photo of the bird as it approached the group.
Each month a different group of international Global Volunteers check some 34 possum traps for MIRO in Gollans valley spending most of their day there. The sighting was a fitting reward for Global Volunteers who have contributed to the successful possum control in the Park.
It is hoped that other pairs of the North Island robins have been equally successful and that more juveniles will be sighted over the coming months.


MIRO Possum Trapping Efforts in East Harbour Regional Park

February 2009 - Greater Wellington Regional Council (GW) has just commissioned a possum monitor by an independent contractor in East Harbour Regional Park, to determine levels of possums in the Park. This is the first monitor taken since June 2006.
The figure of 2.7 percent rate of trap catch (RTC) is well below the target level of 5 percent. This is the third monitor in a row that has been below the 5 percent level, confirming that possums have now been effectively suppressed in the Park for the last 5 years.

The reduction in possums across the Park, in concert with the low level of rats within the Mainland Island will be providing favourable conditions for the North Island robins released into the Park last winter.


Parangarahu Plant Release February 2009

A visit to the MIRO plantings in the Parangarahu Lakes Area revealed that trees were being swamped by dense grasses. While the grass had afforded protection over the height of summer, giving the trees some space now should see the plants take off when autumn rains arrive.

A group of volunteers spent half a day in Plot 1 near Kohangapiripiri releasing the trees from the grass. A number of plants have also had protectors put around them to see the effect of this extra protection on their growth.

A brief check of Plot 2 revealed a healthy survival rate in spite of the hard dry summer, and in the next few weeks weeding of grasses surrounding the plants will take place here also.

Hillary Challenge Students Visit MIRO February 2009

Seven Upper Hutt college students taking part in the Hillary Challenge Programme spent a day doing a possum trap-line in East Harbour Regional Park.

As part of the Hillary Challenge, students were required to spend a day on a conservation project. The students agreed to do the Middle Ridge possum trap-line under the guidance of regular MIRO volunteer Brian Burke.


All students took a hand emptying and rebaiting possum traps and filling rat bait stations along a challenging line running through the middle of the Mainland Island. The already very fit students completed the task in super quick time.


Giant Rata Journey 17 January 2009

MIRO led a day walk into the Mainland Island area of the Park as part of the Greater Wellington Summer Walks programme. MIRO shared with the 30 participants from around Wellington their vision for the Park and explained the latest development in this project - the return of the North Island robin. Participants on the walk appreciated the opportunity to visit off track areas of the Park not usually seen by visitors, especially the giant rata on the Middle Ridge.


MIRO Award November 2008

The GWRC Rata Community Partnership Award was presented to MIRO at a ceremony in November 2008.

GWRC Rata Community Partnership Award

The award recognises the hundreds of hours the sixty members of MIRO have put into almost eradicating possums from the MIRO area. Over a period of four years, volunteers have brought possum rates down from 27 caught per 100 traps set to 1.8 per 100 traps, which has led to the regeneration of native bush and a growth in the numbers of birds.

Copyright 2008 © Mainland Island Restoration Operation

Website software development by Spiral Web Solutions