This was followed by a pleasant get together with the wider team of volunteers. It was great to see so many people, in different stages of their life, being involved in conservation work. It raised the question of what enticed people to become a volunteer for the Trust and what makes it worthwhile for them to do so. We decided to explore.
We asked Rod Lovatt, a long time volunteer. “Our family returned to New Zealand after a 10 year stint in Australia, followed by three years cruising in the Pacific. We settled down in the Bream Head area, an area I know well growing up there myself. My wife and I love the outdoors and want to preserve New Zealand nature for future generations. It was a logical step to become a volunteer”, Rod says. “I really enjoy working for the Trust, they are very organised, focused and it is great to see the results of our work. We have run the Bream Head tracks now for many years and the improvement in bird life is so noticeable. It’s very rewarding” Rod would also like to see the same principles, used on Bream Head/ Te Whara, applied to the harbour. “I think our gorgeous harbour is the best in NZ, but neglected by and unrecognised by local authorities. Its biodiversity is a shadow of its former self.”
Nicola Hartwell spent time in her younger years walking through the Waitakere Ranges with her grandfather, instigating a love for being active in nature. Nicola and her young family moved to Ocean Beach after receiving a job offer in Northland. “I ran the trails on the reserve as often as I could”, she says, “sometimes two or three times a week.” After she became familiar with predator control through the Ocean Beach Landcare Group she figured she was spending so much time in the bush, that she may as well take on a trapline in the Reserve, and so she did. “Little did I know then that the pressures of life (and the discovery of the joy of surfing) would result in my trapline often being the only time I have in the bush each month”, she says. “I treasure it. I get the physical and mental benefits, new experiences, and the pleasure of working with an experienced and passionate team for something I have grown to love.”
Rupert Newbold moved to the area in 1990. “I had an immediate connection with the Trust as my wife got involved in one of the committees”, Rupert says. “I remember when we arrived in the area there were goats still on the reserve and my brother, who was one of the DOC team who eradicated them, lost dogs over cliffs in the process! In those days I would catch 20-30 possums a night from 50 baits!” Over the years Rupert has donated his time maintaining trapping lines, helping out with bird call counting and is heavily involved in the restorative tree planting program. He has seen with his own eyes the dramatic revival of so many trees and plants. “The main thing I would say to any new or prospective volunteers is, you're getting involved in a very exciting restoration project that requires input from many people. We are winning in the fight to restore this beautiful reserve and it is awesome to be a part of that.”
Grant Stevens and his wife Pam have always been involved with conservation projects around NZ. “I have maintained a lifetime love of tramping especially in NZ’s mountain/ wilderness areas”, Grant says. “I first became aware of the Bream Head/ Te Whara project when our friends Cathy and Pete Michell left Matakohe Limestone Island for Pete to become the first Bream Head ranger. It was a little later I started volunteering on the bait lines. The bait lines are great to get you into the wilder nooks and crannies on the hill and encounter some of the less common birds such as robins, morepork and kaka.”
Grant doesn’t mind doing the tracking tunnel run four times a year, “I really enjoy walking uphill, it is great for fitness”, he says. “I would like to congratulate the Trust for running a great volunteer programme with good communication and engendering the knowledge in all volunteers that their work is appreciated.”
It was a delight to read in the paper of Robin Lieffering’s, (our past chair of Bream Head Conservation Trust), civic honour award. We feel that this is very well earned.
Our 2023 annual report is packed with news from the reserve - it's amazing to see how much is going on.
We farewell Rod, who had a very long relationship with Bream Head/ Te Whara Conservation Trust. He was involved with the Trust from its inception as a volunteer and as a board member.
BHCT is proud to be one of the deserving groups selected to receive funding from the DOC Community Fund to support Threatened Species and Ecosystems!
A big congratulations to our very own Greg Innes who picked up the ‘Outstanding Contribution to Te Taiao’ award at the 2023 Whakamānawa ā Taiao – Environmental Awards on July 22.
Over 100 people, young and old, armed with spades turned up at Urquhart’s Bay car park last Sunday ready to plant 2000 trees at Bream Head Scenic Reserve.
Our community planting day will take place on Sunday the 11th of June from 9am to 12 noon. Bring your whanau and friends, and join others in our community.
The timing of the start of our new ranger David Lawrence-Solomon could not have been more fortuitous. His first day on the hill was just after ex-tropical Cyclone Gabrielle had departed.
Northpower Wild Kiwi multi-sport event is on the 11th of March! The first 10 people to make a $100 donation to the Bream Head Conservation Trust will receive a free individual entry ticket (any distance). Get onto it! Be one of the first to donate and get your free ticket to participate in this great event! To claim your ticket send an email to email@example.com
Keep your eye out for the 2022 Te Whara Bream Head Trust newsletter. We've made some hard copies and they're available free of charge at locations around Whangarei Heads. If you're not in the area click See More to go to the newsletter page and you can download a PDF from there.
On Sunday the 11th of September, in the good company of many of our volunteers, friends and the Whangarei Mayor, we celebrated our 20th anniversary. It was the perfect moment to reflect upon what has been achieved over the years.
Bream Head/Te Whara Conservation Trust has appointed Tom Flynn-Plummer as our new head ranger. Tom will start in August and he is replacing Adam Willetts, our head ranger for the last eight years.
While all attention is focussed on combating an epidemic, a group of grey-faced petrels (Pterodroma gouldi or Oi) had another successful breeding season at the Bream Head Scenic Reserve.
It’s been a tough twelve months all round the world but it hasn’t been all doom and gloom for the Trust.
Thanks to an anonymous donor, any donation you make to the Trust in the month of June will be tripled.
Beautiful Bream Head inspired calendars by local artist
We won a prize! Thanks to NRC for recognising us and all our volunteers for their hard work in earning it.
Conservation Minister our guest as Bream Head and Auckland University of Technology team up