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Urban Hut Club

ōtaki hut
selfie outside ōtaki hut
As part of the New Zealand Festival of the Arts, we’ve got Urban Huts on the Kapiti Coast. Huts for one!
At the ōtaki hut, I crawled inside and sat on a stool to read a story by Renee. Outside waves sloshed onto the sand, and I deep breathed the smell of salt. Seagulls called, and I remembered the great flock of terns I’d seen on our beach the day before.
The huts are here to stay (so I was told by a woman I meet at the Kaitawa / Paraparaumu Hut yesterday, who’d heard it on the radio).
For an enchanted adventure, full directions and map to all 5 huts urbanhutclub.nz

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a tide of tui

Cloak of Protection. FOREST
are spilling over the predator proof fence at Maungatautari Ecosanctuary, according to an article just published in Notornis – the research journal of BirdsNZ.

The study was carried out by Neil Fitzgerald, John Innes (SCIENCE ADVISOR, CLOAK of PROTECTION) and Norman Mason from Manaaki Whenua/Landcare Research.

Construction of a 47 km pest-resistant fence encircling 3,240 hectare of the forest was completed in August 2006 and eradication of all pest mammals except house mice commenced in November 2006.

“This created the largest area of virtually pest-free forest on the New Zealand mainland.

“Congregations of 100 or more tūī were reported 6 times. Such exceptional congregations of tūī have not been previously reported in Waikato.

“The increased presence of tūī in the wider landscape will help restore indigenous dominance in ecosystem processes such as pollination and seed dispersal.”

In Cloak of Protection, tūī live in the forest realm, but this movement shows that they could just as easily be settlement birds!

In Flight of Pollen, tūī are necessary pollinators and seed dispersers

from the article, Tūī spill out from Maungatautari, Predator Free NZ, blogpost
FEBRUARY 13, 2020 BY KATE GUTHRIE

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Playing Flight of Pollen on the Court

In Term 3, we played the outdoor version of Flight of Pollen, on the court, at St Anne’s School, Manurewa.
Pollinators collected pollen and transported it to hula-hoop flowers; pollen crawled through one hoop, then another, to the base of the flower; ripening time was spent playing touch-tag; and then pollinators became berry eaters and seed blowers. The winning team, DAY / NIGHT, collected the most seeds & berries.
WILD!
From there we went indoors, and played a truncated boardgame. Which game was best – indoor or outdoor? Opinion among the students was roughly divided in half.
Both versions were ‘nearly’ as good as Cloak of Protection. Which was high praise indeed – they’re mad about my first game, and play it at every opportunity!!

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one find of moa poo

Stout legged moa
found in a cave in Nelson is thought to be 8000 years old.

In Flight of Pollen, fresh native pollen is carried from plant-to-plant. But in new research, it’s evidence of which plants were eaten, way back thousands of years ago!

Scientists analysed the pollen in fossilised moa poo and in fresh deer poo, from Daley’s Flat, Dart River Valley, West Otago.

It’s thought four species of moa lived where the samples were found, three of which can be found in Cloak of Protection: the bush moa; the heavy-footed moa – described as a “40-gallon drum walking on toddler’s gumboots”; the upland moa; and the South Island giant moa.

The pollen, thousands of years old, and still remaining in the dried poo, indicates that each of these species grazed on different plant types within the area.

The pollen also shows that plants that were present when moa roamed the country are now pretty much absent – due to the introduction of deer.

Deer are not like moa. Research by Jamie Wood and Janet Wilmshurst, Manaaki Whenua – Landcare Research

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Small things matter

Ti kouka / cabbage tree
and small things tend to get overlooked. Insects, spiders, and crustaceans get very little attention, yet they make up half of the world’s animal biomass

Insects are part of the web of life. They feed birds and fish and small creatures, and they pollinate our forests and our food.

Small things, miss them when they’re gone. . .

. . . due to farming and cities; pesticides and fertilizers; and invasive species.

It’s us. Which means we can do something. Start by planting a garden. Start by looking after soil health. And there they’ll be.

In Flight of Pollen ti kouka / cabbage tree (shown) is pollinated by hoverfly, native bee, honey bee, moth, gecko, bat, koromiko, and tui. They’ll all come quickly for its feast of nectar!

for more details go to:Truthout

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Culling invasive species on islands worldwide

could save nearly 10% of the world’s bird, mammal, amphibian and reptile species currently on the brink of extinction.

So the Guardian reported on research published in the journal Plos One.

Recently I saw this for myself on Kapiti Island, which – thanks to volunteers who criss-crossed the island with traps, and to the ongoing surveillance of DOC – has been predator-free since 1998. Only one pregnant ferret has disturbed the peace since then!

Kākā watched us from trees above, kōkako sang, weka dug in the undergrowth, the lone takahē hid from sight, hihi flitted by, and we found empty kiwi holes…

“This is about as cost-effective, high-impact species extinction prevention spending as one can find – as close as we can get to a silver bullet. . .People are often surprised at just how successful and doable these projects are . ..” said Jonathan Hall, the RSPB’s head of UK overseas territories.

With the predators in Cloak of Protection removed, wildlife is flourishing. To celebrate this, dolphins frolicked in the marine reserve, and beside our boat, both ways.

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Otari Event 12th and 13th March 2019

Arihia, from Enviroschools Te Upoko o Te Ika a Māui- Greater Wellington
organised by Enviroschools Te Upoko o Te Ika a Māui- Greater Wellington, included an outdoor pollination game.

Arihia (pictured) worked on a version, based on Flight of Pollen. With the able assistance of the Otari School Bush Guides, over the two days, and with students from 8 schools, we played it a total of 14 times.

Showing great persistence, the Te Upoko o Te Ika a Māui Facilitors, have been working (with me), on a LARP (Live Action Role Play) version of the game, for quite a while.

We played at Otari Wiltons Bush, on the Troup lawn. Surrounding the lawn is a botannical ‘zoo’ containing the forest that once covered much of Wellington. Only one percent of native forest remains on the Wellington peninsula.
and half of that surrounded us(!)

While we ‘pollinated’ on the lawn, flying insects checked us out. And, as part of the event, students also saw pollen and gecko skin under microscope.

Feedback from students and teachers: ‘ I didn’t know that pollinators had to work so hard!’, ‘fun’, ‘exciting’, and ‘let’s play it back at school’