The Trust has numerous projects underway or in the planning stages involving environmental rehabilitation, trail development, dune restoration, forestry, education and research.
Currently, our keystone projects include the establishment of a biota node network and the rehabilitation of Tūtaepatu Lagoon and The Pines Beach Wetland.
Commencing 2020, we have a joint research project with the NZ Coastal Restoration Trust to establish a a demonstration restored native coastal forest sequence that was typical of North Canterbury by replacing logged pines and marginal pasture with foredunes of sandbinders, mid-zone coastal shrublands, wetlands and lagoons, and landward coastal podocarp forest.
The Trust is establishing a series of 'biota nodes' along the 10.5km length of the Trusts lands at approximately 250m centres.
With ‘biota’ meaning the ecological system (flora and fauna) of a particular environment, and ‘node’ being a point of intersection, these biota nodes are a series of small, localised points of native wildlife, which, as they mature, will extend outwards to form a ‘biodiversity skeleton’ stretching the length of the park. Each contains a freshwater pond and native plant life that will attract birds, aiding seed transfer for easy and eventual self-maintaining propagation.
Each Node is to be adopted and maintained by a school, class or community group.
Currently we have 35 biota nodes, which have been established. As of December 2019, over 6000 native plants including manuka, harakeke, tikouka, tarata, ake ake, kahikatea and totara, among others, have been planted.
Over the past Seven years, with the support of the Working Waters Trust and the University of Canterbury Conservation, Systematics and Evolution Research Team, Kowaro/Canterbury Mudfish fry have been released into a number of the nodes, to extend the habitat of these threatened species within Tūhaitara Coastal Park.
The Tūtaepatu Lagoon site includes the largest area of natural open water in the coastal strip between the Waimakariri and Ashley Rakahuri Rivers, and an area of surrounding vegetation, totaling over 54 hectares. The overall goal of the proposed restoration of Tūtaepatu Lagoon is “a lagoon with indigenous vegetation that supports mahinga kai and spiritual values”.
Tūtaepatu Lagoon discharges north into the Taranaki Stream which then flows into the Ashley Rakahuri and south into the Saltwater Creek which discharges into the Waimakariri at Kairaki . The Lagoon and its freshwater network support a diverse range of indigenous biota e.g. wetland and swamp plants, fish e.g. inaka, tuna (eel), kowaro (mudfish) and birds e.g. kotuku (white heron) bittern, kotare (kingfisher) kōrimako (bellbird) and ruru (morepork).
Over the past 9 years some 40,000 natives and been planted, female grey willow and old mans beard controlled and approximately 1500 animal pests eradicated.
Te Kohanga Wetland - Pegasus
Te Kohanga Wetlands are located to the north of Tūtaepatu Lagoon and east of Pegasus Town. The area covers around 100 hectares of wetland and open water.
The Trust carries out weed control and trail maintenance. Additionally we have a highly motivated team of volunteer trappers who have eradicated around 500 animal pests over the past three years.
The wetlands are home to threatened species including Bittern, Kotuku, Marsh Crake and Kowaro. In early 2020, a pair of NZ Dabchicks were sighted, becoming the first sighting in Canterbury for over 100 years.
Kaitiritiri Ridge - Pegasus
The Kaitiritiri Ridge is a significant historical site. The Trusts aim is to establish a native forest along the length of the ridge. To date, along with numerous volunteers, we have planted some 5000 native trees and shrubs. We also carry out mowing and trail maintenance, although these are secondary in importance to the establishment of the ridge forest.
We have a dedicated group of volunteers who trap along the ridge, and to date have eradicated approximately 400 animal pests over the past two years.
The Pines Beach Wetland
The Pines Beach Wetland is a 36 hectare open reedland, surrounded by dunes. Originally it was a lagoon open to the sea, however around 1970, the opening was closed and the area has converted to a freshwater wetland.
The Trust has carried out an extensive weed control programme primarily targeting willow and beggars tick. Additionally we have commenced planting on the periphery with a range of native wetland shrub and tree species.
The continuing work, along with a comprehensive animal pest programme will result in a rapid transformation of the area.
Carbon Sequestration - Trees that Count
We commenced the planting of a proposed 10,000 podocarp forest in April 2016 with a mix of 2000 kahikatea, matai and totara planted at Woodend Beach on the southern side of Tūtaepatu Lagoon. This coincided with New Zealand and 174 other countries signing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in New York the previous night. In what is probably the first tree planting to sequester carbon from the atmosphere after the agreement was signed about 150 volunteers organised by the Student Volunteer Army descended on the Park. The planting was a truly international effort (with lots of international students participating) in a truly bicultural project. For Trees that Count, which provided the trees, this is hopefully the beginning of a much larger nationwide project that combines biodiversity restoration and action on climate change.
On Anzac Day 2017, we added another 1000 totara and 1000 assorted native tree species to the Woodend Beach forest including kowhai, ribbonwood, ake ake, tarata and kanuka.
We had over 200 volunteers on site from all walks of New Zealand life, small children to great-grandparents, pai rawa atu, excellent.
In 2018 we planted 1000 assorted native trees on the Kaitiritiri Ridge at Pegasus Town and 3000 assorted native trees along the Tūtaepatu Lagoon Trail.
In 2019 we planted 1000 assorted native trees along the Achilles Parade boundary of The PInes Beach, 1000 native trees on the Kaitiritiri Ridge and 1000 along Tiritirimoana Drive.
We have a further 2000 trees to plant during 2020.