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Friends of Rangikapiti on their way to restore historic reserve

Friends of Rangikapiti are a group committed to the restoration of a 33ha coastal forest between Mangonui and Coopers Beach in the far north of New Zealand. The area has stunning coastal vistas and has the potential to be one of the great short walks.  The forest is currently largely manuka, kanuka, pohutukawa, mahohe and kohekohe however has a significant weed problem in addition to threats from possums, rats and mustelads.

Rangikapiti Pa is the major historic feature of the Rangikapiti Historic Reserve, and is of great significance to local iwi Ngati Kahu.  Overlooking the Mangonui Harbour, this pa site is traditionally associated with Ngati Kahu ancestor Moehuri, who made land fall here in the waka (canoe) Ruakaramea, which was named after his wife.

For the first ten years of its existence, Friends of Rangikapiti focused mainly on weed control, with aggressive asparagus scandens (and other invasive weeds) blanketing whole sections of bush within the reserve. Now that much of that work has been completed, the focus is on restoring biodiversity in the reserve. Their work now encompasses tree planting, trapping, environmental education and track improvement.

On 20 August, 40 local volunteers from Friends of Rangikapiti gathered to plant 500 trees at the Pa.  Funding for these trees was made possible through Trees That Count's partnership with Z. A further 1,000 will be planted next year, also funded by Trees That Count and Z.

“Anxious to get started, Friends of Rangikapiti had been searching for support to get our planting plans underway.  Receiving this support from Trees That Count and Z for native trees has been an enormous help and given our project a wonderful kick-start”, says John Haines of Friends of Rangikapiti.

Through working bees and with the help of local volunteers, a diverse range of species such as rimu, taraire, milkwood and kowhai is being reintroduced to the reserve, a place these trees have not called home for decades. Friends of Rangikapiti are particularly proud of the introduction of tauwapou, a beautiful and relatively rare native tree said to have been brought to these shores on the Mamaru canoe. Local iwi, Ngati Kahu understandably revere this tree, so its introduction to the reserve is particularly special.

“Through our partnership with Z, we’re able to help community groups across New Zealand achieve their conservation goals. It’s wonderful to be able to support such a historically valuable area with native trees, and give Friends of Rangikapiti the assurance of trees not just for this year, but also for 2018”, said Trees That Count Project Director, Tanya Hart.