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December Pānui – Newsletter

Kia ora and welcome to our Restore Hibiscus & Bays November Pānui.

In this newsletter...

Every month we send news, information and events from our network of community groups working to eradicate pests, restore native habitats and improve water quality along the East Coast Bays and Hibiscus Coast. Please complete your full details via the link below, so we can ensure you receive information tailored to you. We also ask that you share this email with your friends and contacts and encourage them to sign up here for future newsletters.

Are you looking to connect with an existing group or project in our network? Click on our map here to see more information on the local community group or project working to protect and restore native wildlife and habitats in your area. If there isn’t a current project in your area of interest or if you would like to add a project to the map, please get in touch at We would love to support you in whatever way we can. 

Ngā mihi nui, 

Rachael & the Restore Hibiscus & Bays team

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We would like to promote your future events and working bees on our website and in our newsletters! Please send us an email to, including event name, date, time, location, RSVP details and any links for further information.

Christmas Network Hui and End-of-Year Celebration

Thursday 10 December, 7-9pm
Orewa Community Centre – Small Hall, 40-46 Orewa Square, Orewa
We hope that as many of you as possible will come along to celebrate the end of a challenging but busy year at our Christmas hui on 10 December in Orewa. We will have a special feature on collaborating with schools. The team at Restoring Takarunga Hauraki will join us as special guests to talk with us about their schools programme, and we hope that others will also share about their experiences and discuss key principles for building effective relationships with schools. We will also be running a fun award ceremony to thank some of our wonderful volunteers. RSVP on Facebook.

2020 Volunteer Awards

Request for Nominations
Thank you for all the nominations received to date for our volunteer awards. We have a very generous local business community and have been donated prizes from New World Long Bay, New World Browns Bay and New World Orewa, Cut and Paste, Yealands Wine, and EcoStore! We also have some of our new Restore Hibiscus & Bays T-shirts to give away. 
If you have a volunteer in mind who always goes above and beyond, please nominate them for an award and a special gift – they deserve it! Send us a quick email to and tell us why you think they should receive an award. Don't be shy, nominate someone today!

Out and About with Kane

Highlights from our Ecological Restoration Advisor
Community volunteers in Torbay are set up, trained and ready to start their first predator control blitz in Winstone's Cove Reserve. They will be targeting rats, stoats and possums, which are a major problem for the native ecology of this special coastal landscape. All predator control activity that we support will be recorded on, including bait taken and catches. For resources on predator control, including our best practice guidelines, see our website. If you are keen to set up and help run a new predator line in an area near you, please email
It was awesome to be invited along to join Mairangi Bay Cubs in November. The group of 8-10 year-olds learnt about environmental weeds, why they're a problem and how to tackle them safely and effectively. They made a great start on the arum lily in their local reserve that is preventing the regeneration of some of the mature native trees. Some of them were heard explaining to their parents at pick-up time about how the ivy on their fence is actually a problem that they need to get on to asap 🙂 
We plan to continue working with Mairangi Bay keas, cubs and scouts to support them to control all the pest plants in their reserve and to hopefully do some native planting there next Winter and in years to come. We're also keen to support other youth groups - and community groups of all ages and types! - to restore the local environment, so please get in touch!

Moth plant hit squad on Watercare land

After moth plant was reported at some Watercare sites in the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board area, Kane worked closely with Watercare to set up a system for gaining permissions and getting Health & Safety plans approved to enable site access for community action. Luckily we have some expert volunteers with technical experience in controlling this species. Large vines were cut and pasted with MetGel and thick mats of seedlings were carefully sprayed. A few remaining pods were plucked, placed inside a plastic bag and sent to land fill.
If you spot moth plant on land owned by Watercare, Council, Auckland Transport, or DOC, please report using the app. We will see the report, assist with getting permissions to control it and get volunteers onto it as soon as we can! Please also report on EcoTrack any moth plant you spot on private property too. Here's a document on our website that outlines the process. For more information and guidance on pest plant control methods, see the pest plant resource section of our website here.

Our Catchment-Scale Stream Projects:
Action Planning!

Thank you to the full room of people from Campbells Bay who care enough about their local stream, beaches and the Hauraki Gulf to spend a Wednesday evening with us brainstorming a plan of action! We now have a heap of excellent ideas and connections to follow up on and some exciting mahi ahead of us as we collectively raise the funds we need to achieve the ambitious Campbells Bay Urban Sanctuary vision for the stream catchment. Special thanks to Paula, Fiona and Richard for their inspiring words and to the Sustainable Business Network's Million Metres team for their ongoing support and collaboration.
To find out how you or your organisation can sponsor the Clean Streams Campbells Bay project, go to the fundraising page here.

We are also working with communities in Long Bay, Torbay, Browns Bay and Rothesay Bay to plan, action and raise funds for our two other catchment-scale stream projects. For more info, visit our website here, or email us at

Campbells Bay School trees to be felled

Eight mature, native trees, including seven Pōhutukawa and one Norfolk Pine, along Aberdeen Road are planned to be removed early 2021 to make way for a proposed new classroom block at Campbells Bay School. Many community members are extremely distressed by this proposal and believe an alternative building design must be found – one which preserves the historic pōhutakawa and the benefits they bring for the character and ecology of the school and local environment. If you would like to support this kaupapa, follow the Save Campbells Bay School Trees Facebook page for suggestions on actions you might wish to take, including writing to the Ministry of Education about your views.

Strategy Review

We need your participation and input
In 2018, restoration groups across the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board area came together to develop a biodiversity and pest free plan, which for the past two years has formed the basis of the Restore Hibiscus & Bays strategy. Restore Hibiscus & Bays sits within a changing regional and national context, and so to remain flexible and responsive, it was agreed that the strategic plan should be reviewed every two years.
To that end, we will be holding some facilitated sessions at the beginning of 2021 for our Steering Group and wider Network to get together to discuss and agree how we wish our strategy to evolve and move forward for the next two years. We will also be reviewing our governance structure. We would very much appreciate your participation and input at the Network Strategy Review session at Northcross Intermediate School, Browns Bay on Tuesday 9 February 7-9pm.

Reporting your valuable time

Keep track of your volunteer hours to document your valuable work!

Restore Hibiscus & Bays has been working with our Auckland Council Community Parks Ranger to develop a simple, user-friendly form that volunteers can use to keep track of and report your awesome mahi. We hope this will reduce your administration and email load down in future. We welcome any feedback as we start this collaboration going forward. We want to make this as easy as possible for you, and want to hear how we can improve it for the community user. Please follow this link to our website to complete your reporting for November: And click on the link 'Project Hours Tracking form’, as highlighted above. On an ongoing basis, you can enter each event separately, or if you wish, you can aggregate the data for all your project activities across a month. If you currently report your volunteer time to Sinead at Auckland Council Community Parks, you will be receiving an email from her also outlining this new process.

Volunteer of the Month: Mary Stewart

Friends of Long Bay and Friends of Gerontius Reserve
Mary Stewart lives near Gerontius Reserve in Torbay - a small, remnant of mature bush that, like other remnant forest in our urban area, is incredibly important for maintaining those wildlife habitat corridors between our pest free Islands in the Hauraki Gulf and the Waitakere Ranges in the West of Auckland. Mary started exploring the reserve with her kids, and because she works in conservation, she identified issues in there that she knew needed to be addressed in order to maintain the natural regeneration processes of the native ecosystem. She saw a fantastic learning opportunity for local children, including the Guides and Brownie groups that she leads. Bringing these children along with her, she formed Friends of Geronitus Reserve and together they set out to address the environmental weeds and introduced predators that were causing havoc to the native biodiversity.

Whilst also volunteering at Long Bay Regional Park, she met Colin Pawson and Elaine Pollock, and together they decided that they needed to do something about the environmental weeds, rubbish and rats in the nearby Awaruku wetland and surrounding areas of Long Bay. In what little time she had outside of her full time work, parenting, and volunteering with the Brownies and Guides (!), she felt compelled to do what she could to help preserve the wetland; Friends of Long Bay was formed. She now focuses her energy on trying to inspire and help others to get involved, particularly with predator control through the wetland and other areas of the Awaruku and Vaughan's stream (Long Bay) catchments. As there are many weeds through the wetland that are too challenging for volunteers to tackle, she sought funding from the Restore Hibiscus & Bays Volunteer Initiatives Programme and organised professional eco-contractors to take on this important work. 

"Once people understand how infested with pests our local environment is and how much of an impact it has, we realise how desperate things are and how urgent the job is. It will take all of us to solve this problem," says Mary.

"But now is the time to turn the tide! There are many people becoming more and more interested and involved in community conservation, and we can already see what a difference we are making. We have pest-free islands now. Next, let's create a pest-free mainland! It is achievable, if we all work together."

Get in touch at if you'd like to join Mary and our many other volunteers working across the East Coast Bays and Hibiscus Coast – we can signpost you to a nearby group or project or support you and your neighbours to initiate something new. We can try and find a volunteer opportunity that suits you and your lifestyle - even a couple of hours a month can make a massive difference!

Pest Plant of the Month:
Tree Privet and Chinese Privet

Tree privet and Chinese privet are fast growing evergreen trees that can be very long lived. These trees produce many highly viable seeds that are widely dispersed, most commonly by birds. Privet seeds are very shade tolerant and form dense understories, shading out native species and eventually replacing parts of the canopy. In some cases, they form entire canopy coverage. When in bloom, privet produces large amounts of pollen that can cause health problems for people. The leaves and berries of privet that are also poisonous to animals and people.

To take action:

  • Report the weed using the app.
  • Wear personal protection equipment, such as a mask and gloves.
  • Hand pull small infestations.
  • For small to medium sized stems, cut near to the ground and immediately paste a thin film of MetGel on the cut stem - MetGel can be purchased at most garden centres or hardware stores. Always read the manufacturer’s label for guidelines and recommendations. 
  • For large trees, cut two rings 20-30cm apart around the base of the trunk. Remove the bark between each ring, then apply a thin film of MetGel around the exposed part of the tree. The gradually dying tree will provide canopy cover for emerging native plants. 
  • Do not fell large trees unless necessary, i.e. because it's near a path, road or a building. If the tree forms part of a native forest, felling it will create gaps in the canopy that can cause more weeds to colonise the area. 
  • Talk to your neighbours and encourage them to take action too! 
  • Download a printable leaflet/poster about privet species and other pest plants from our website here
Please email us with any questions to

Gift trees this Christmas

Purchase trees directly to support our Restore Hibiscus & Bays stream projects!
Our partners at Million Metres have the perfect Christmas gift idea. And it gives to our precious local environment at the same time! More than ever this festive season will be about getting outside with family and friends. It will be about spending time enjoying our beautiful beaches, wetlands, streams and bush. You can help care for these amazing places and sort your Christmas giving by gifting trees to your loved ones. Searching for a meaningful gift for clients or staff? Contact if you’d like to gift trees in bulk, and don't forget to mention which of our local streams you wish to support. The Million Metres elves will follow up with you asap
Do you have any cool photos or videos of wildlife, landscapes or people helping nature within our rohe? Would you be happy for us to include them on our website, newsletters, Facebook, leaflets and other communications? Do you have any stories that you would like to share? Please send them to

Come on a virtual tour with Mary Stewart in Gerontius Reserve 🌳🐦🦆🐟🌸🐛 View the video here. You have to sign up to our Facebook group first :-) 

Restore Hibiscus & Bays is an umbrella community-led, not-for-profit initiative that aims to bring together, support and grow the network of restoration groups, neighbourhoods, individuals, schools, businesses and other organisations working to eradicate pests, restore native habitats and improve water quality across the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board area.

Our mahi is supported by funding grants from the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board, Auckland Council, Foundation North and the Lottery Environment and Heritage fund, and we are part of Heart of the Bays (formerly the East Coast Bays Community Project), which has charitable status.
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Restore Hibiscus & Bays · The Bays Community Centre · 2 Glen Road · Browns Bay, Auk 0630 · New Zealand

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