On Sunday 28th the Hereweka Harbour Cone Trust held its first Annual General Meeting. The meeting was held “al fresco” at the Bacon Street entrance to the property. After the usual reports all trustees expressed their wish to remain on the committee and our officer holders will remain in place for another year. One of the more interesting aspects of today’s meeting was the arrival of one of our members by horse. It would be doubtful that many organisations have a horse at its AGM. Its worth noting that the horse does not have voting rights!
On a blustery day punctuated by a few showers, students from the Otago University Anthropology Society worked at the Rogers farmstead on Hereweka today. With expertise provided by archaeologist Dr Peter Petchey, the team mapped the byre, barn, house and surrounding farm structures. The largely intact but heavily modified byre has a beautiful brick floor and stalls that would have been part of the Rogers’ family dairy operation. One of the tasks of the Society was to produce a floor plan of this building that would give the Hereweka Trust a better understanding of its historical use.
The work of the Society members is invaluable to the Trust. It provides further insight into the farming activities and the lives of the families that settled and worked in the Hereweka landscape. The Trust are looking forward to having the students visit the area again and are excited about what more they can tell us about this site.
An interesting day of visitors at Hereweka with planners from around the country visiting the Larnach Model Farm and getting a feel for the many values of the site. The planners were part of the New Zealand Planning Institute 2016 conference held in Dunedin.
In the afternoon a group of Landscape Architects from the NZ Institute of Landscape Architects spent a sunny afternoon visiting the slopes of Hereweka and walking out to Rutherfords. This was part of their annual conference and a further opportunity to showcase some of the special values of the property.
It’s always great to be able to show the area off to people who have never visited the area and the visit stimulated some interesting thoughts on cultural landscapes and their management from both groups.
Members of the Trust, Otago Regional Council and Peninsula landowners met to discuss waterway management under the Otago Regional Council’s new Regional Water Plan. The field day was designed to give local landowners an understanding of the plan changes and its requirements. Regional Council staff gave a broad overview of the plan and the reason’s around the plan and how it would affect landowners. One of the interesting aspects of the field day was the demonstration of electric fishing by Pete Ravenscroft. The electric fishing technique allowed trustees and landowners see the numbers of native Galaxiids in a small waterway such a s Smiths Creek. Land and Water consultant Murray Harris also gave an overview of land management practices that assist farmers around catchment areas. Overall, the field day was very useful and gave trustees an insight into future options for the Hereweka property. (Click on the pictures to view full size).
Broad Bay School pupils won the Toroa award at the Conservation Week awards on Tuesday 3rd November. Otago Peninsula Trust chairman Ross Smith presented the pupils with the award, which came with $500 in funding for their conservation project at Smiths Creek. The pupils also won the collaboration of a Department of Conservation ranger, who would help with their project. For three years, the school has been involved with the freshwater creek protection and enhancement project at Smiths Creek co-ordinated by Save The Otago Peninsula (STOP). Each winter they have spent a day or more planting native trees to provide shade and absorb agricultural runoff and slow erosion. In the past two years they have provided their own plants and the pupils are eager to continue their work at Smiths Creek, which has also included monitoring the water quality and aquatic habitat.
Members of P.I.P.T.A (Primary Industries Polytechnic Tutors Association) visited the Hereweka property recently as part of their annual national conference. Over 40 conference delegates from around the country spent time on the Peninsula and the Harbour Cone property was organised as part of their field trip. The delegates all have roles in teach primarily horticulture and agriculture in polytechnics throughout New Zealand. The field trip was an opportunity for the delegates to learn more about the property as both a working farm and as an important cultural and ecological restoration area in the region. The delegates were impressed and this was helped by a sweltering hot day that made Hereweka and the Peninsula really shine.
Horticulture students under the guidance of tutor Lisa Burton spent a morning with Hereweka Trustees and Otago Peninsula Biodiversity Group project manager Cathy Rufaut at Smiths Creek recently. The students looked at the Smiths Creek restoration project with trustee Lala Frazer and saw the planting work undertaken by the Save the Otago Peninsula group. There was also time for the students to look at the possum control project and its methodologies undertaken by the OPBG. The students then took a guided walk to the summit of Hereweka before the threatening rain arrived. The purpose of the students visit was to give them a broad understanding of the property values as well as its challenges and scale. It is hoped that this initial visit will develop into a long-term partnership where the students can learn and test their skills in ecological restoration.