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March 2021 Pānui – Newsletter

Kia ora and welcome to our Restore Hibiscus & Bays March 2021 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.

**Save the Date** – Network Hui, Tue 13 April, 7pm

Venue TBC
Would you like to be the very first members of our new Restore Hibiscus & Bays Incorporated Society? At our next hui we will be asking our network to formally approve our proposed constitution and agree on the structure and representatives for our Committee and Steering Group. We'll confirm more details on the meeting agenda and venue soon.

Community pest plant disposal bin in Browns Bay

We now have a pest plant disposal bin outside our tool library at 712 Beach Road, Browns Bay. This bin is for our communities to use to dispose of certain parts of some pest plants that pose the greatest threat to our indigenous bush. Correct disposal of seeds, seed pods, seed heads and roots greatly reduces the risk that the pest plant will spread to other areas after removal. Please use this bin for the following pest plant parts only, securely tied inside a plastic bag:
  • MOTH PLANT – Seeds, pods, roots
  • WILD GINGER – Seed heads
  • CAPE IVY – Seeds only
  • WOOLLY NIGHTSHADE – Seed heads, flower heads
  • JAPANESE HONEYSUCKLE – Roots, and stems if seeds present
  • CLIMBING ASPARAGUS – Roots, or whole plant if seeds present
  • MADEIRA VINE – Aerial nodules, seeds, seed pods, roots
  • ARUM LILY – Seed heads only
  • BONESEED – Seed heads only
  • BANANA PASSIONFRUIT – Roots and seed pods only
  • AGAPANTHUS – Flowers, seed heads

Do not put anything in this bin that is not listed above. For other pest plant species, please get in touch at and we can advise on pest plant disposal options for your site/project. Parts of some pest plants, such as tradescantia, can instead be composted in a black pest plant bag, available from our tool library. For more information and guidance on controlling pest plants, visit

Out and About with Kane

Highlights from our Ecological Restoration Advisor
St John's School has an old planted site of regenerating native bush in need of environmental weed control. Staff at the school identified this as a perfect opportunity for the students to learn about the threats to our Ngahere and what they can do to protect it. In February, Kane delivered the first in a series of ongoing workshops at the school and the 30 participating students have already worked on controlling a sizeable 200 m2 area of pest plants!
Kane had a very busy couple of days at Whangaparāoa College last week. He delivered a presentation for all of the Year 7s in the hall and then carried out educational workshops for nine classes!
In the coming weeks, Whangāparaoa College students can apply to be part of the school environmental group offering them the opportunity to participate in ongoing hands-on workshops with Kane. The project to restore the wetland area on school grounds will be student-led, with support and guidance from Kane. 
Taiaotea Reserve next to the Scouts Hall on Beach Road in Browns Bay is absolutely infested with pest plants. As it runs along the margins of the stream, this is a priority site for the Taiaotea Catchment Custodians project. Kane delivered an initial workshop with the Scouts, making significant progress releasing blue morning glory off emerging kahikatea trees. This will be an ongoing activity involving the Taiaotea Scouts and Cubs, as well as environmental weed contractors who can take on the more challenging work. If you would like to support the Cubs and Scouts with their mahi and other community action along Taiaotea Stream, please go to the project fundraising page here.
In Western Reserve in Orewa, Kane and the Rotary group managed to finish preparing most of the site for planting later this year. Ka pai! Many thanks to Forest & Bird Hibiscus Coast and Orewa Rotary for their work on this project so far - we're looking forward to collaborating further to plant and maintain this site and to get started on restoring other sites around the Orewa Estuary.

Monitoring the health of our local streams

We now have a Waicare monitoring kit at our tool library
Sarah from Whitebait Connection provided an excellent training for us on how to safely use and train other volunteers to use the Waicare stream monitoring kit, provided by Healthy Waters at Auckland Council. We hope to set up several new monitoring sites along the streams in our focus catchments. In particular, we'll be testing for nitrates, phosphates, dissolved oxygen levels, pH, water clarity and macro-invertebrates - all of which are indicators of the health of the streams. Over time, we hope to be able to measure the impacts of our stream restoration programme, which includes native planting to reduce sediment and contaminants and community education on the impacts of pollutants entering our stormwater.
Sarah also set some fish traps to find out what we currently have living in the section of Taiaotea stream next to our tool library. We found 15-20 fish across the small stretch of stream, including lots of bullies and an īnanga. We also spotted a long-fin tuna (eel). Good to know there is lots of life in there - definitely worth protecting!

Once we've set up our systems and processes for communities and volunteers to borrow the Waicare kit, we'll let you know and organise a training for your group. Stay tuned!

Thank you to our generous Long Bay community

Our Friends of Long Bay volunteer Frank Sun kindly organised a fundraising evening in support of our Long Bay-Awaruku catchment project. It was a wonderful opportunity to share about our vision and plans for the project, eat some beautiful food and get to know others within the community. We raised an amazing $3,600 through donations during the evening. We are so very thankful to everyone who came along and gave their support, to Qing Yun Wang for hosting, and of course to Frank and his team for their time and incredible efforts!

Report your February volunteer time

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

Please follow this link to our website to complete your reporting for February. 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. 

East Coast Bays Schools Conservation in Action

Wednesday 31 March, 3.30-5.30PM (depending on COVID-19 Alert Levels)
Are you a teacher, board member, property manager, or parent helper at a school in the East Coast Bays? If so, please join Sustainable Schools and Restore Hibiscus & Bays at Northcross Intermediate School on Wednesday 31 March, 3.30–5.30pm. Network and learn about support available to empower students to care for their environment at school and within the school whānau whānui (wider community). Download the flyer here. Book your place:

This opportunity for East Coast Bays schools follows a very successful event with schools on the Hibiscus Coast in February, delivered in partnership with Sustainable Schools, Forest & Bird Pest Free Hibiscus Coast and other environmental groups and organisations.

Northcross Intermediate in need of locally sourced seeds for their native plant nursery

The students at Northcross Intermediate are keen to add more native seedlings to their nursery, which they will eventually plant within and near the reserve next to the school. They have asked if any of our network volunteers have time and opportunity to collect seed whilst out in the bush and are able to drop off at the school. They're looking to grow more mānuka, kahikatea, and pūriri, but will gratefully receive any seed that is collected from mature indigenous bush in our local area. Please contact Kel Hartell at For more information and guidance on seed collection and timings for different species, see the DOC website.

German Wasp nests - How to report

We have had several reports recently from volunteers who have come across German wasp nests in our reserves. There are five species of introduced wasps that are classed as pests, as they harm our native birds and insects, and are dangerous for people. If you spot a wasp nest in a Council park, please report it as soon as possible by calling 09 301 0101. The Council will log the report and usually send out a professional contractor on the same day to control the nest. Do not attempt to control the nest yourself. Please see the DOC website for more info on pest wasps. There are several species of native wasps that have evolved in New Zealand and have never become a nuisance.

Shape Auckland Council investment into repairing our waterways and enhancing our environment

Your voice makes a difference

The Council has started consulting with Aucklanders on its draft 10-year Budget, which outlines its priorities, projects and initiatives over the next decade. There are some new environmental investments that have been put forward in this draft budget and they need to hear your feedback on what’s being proposed. Some of these proposals include: 

  • Increasing the Water Quality Targeted Rate to fund major projects to improve the water quality of our harbours, beaches and streams
  • Extending the Natural Environment Targeted Rate to help fund initiatives such as Restore Hibiscus & Bays, and more extensive pest control 
  • Planting more trees, including street trees and native forest in regional parks 
  • Additional investment to respond to the challenges of climate change.

Find out more and have your say here. 

Giveaway time with Million Metres

In celebration of this year’s Seaweek – Kaupapa Moana (6-14 March), our partners at Million Metres are giving away 4 x Family Passes to SEA LIFE Kelly Tarlton's Aquarium!

To enter, donate to one of the Restore Hibiscus and Bays Stream Restoration projects via the Million Metres website: Everyone that donates before the 15 March will be in to win! No donation is too big or too small.

Funding for your conservation project

Send your applications in for our Volunteer Initiatives Programme
The Restore Hibiscus & Bays Volunteer Initiatives Programme (VIP) aims to provide funding to individuals, groups, neighbourhoods and schools wanting to carry out short-term projects to eradicate pests, restore native habitats and improve water quality across public and private land in the Hibiscus & Bays Local Board area. This is specifically for projects that would be difficult to find funding for elsewhere, for example because they are on school land or private land along streams. Communities can apply for funding up to around $3,000 for a project that they have identified as important to the conservation and restoration of native biodiversity in their area.
We are particularly encouraging schools within Hibiscus & Bays to apply for VIP funding to help them to become pest-free schools. If you are connected to a local school in some way, please think about how you might be able to use this funding.

If required, the Restore Hibiscus & Bays staff team can support all VIP-funded projects with technical advice, pest control plans and coordination of eco-contractors.

Please note that we have moved the deadline back to Monday 19 April, to allow schools and groups more time to prepare their applications. For more information, download the overview brochure and application form from our website. We have a separate application form for schools. Email Rachael at with any questions.

Pest Plant of the Month: Madeira Vine

Madeira vine is a pesty creeper that has reddish stems with small irregular 'warty' aerial tubers. The leaves are heart shaped, glossy, clammy to the touch, and arranged alternately on the stems. It’s flowering about now, with lots of slender, drooping, cream-coloured flowerheads about 18 cm long.

Madeira Vine forms dense long-lived infestations that smother native plants and dominate the bush. It can even topple small trees.

If you notice madeira vine on your property or in your nearby parks, please take action as soon as possible:


  • Pull out roots
  • Collect all aerial tubers
  • As it can grow back from small fragments, put all parts in a securely tied black plastic bag and leave to 'cook' in the sun
  • For larger stems, cut near to the ground and immediately paste a thin film of MetGel on the cut stem - can be purchased at most garden centres or hardware stores.
  • Follow up will be required as it is incredibly persistent
  • Talk to your neighbours and encourage them to take action too!
  • Report madeira vine on Council Land to:
  • For more information and guides on weed control, visit 
  • Download a printable leaflet/poster about madeira vine and other pest plants from our website here. 
  • Please email us with any questions to 
Look out for our madeira vine article in the March issue of Channel Magazine! This part of a series of 'Pest Plant of the Month' features aimed at raising awareness of pest plants, why they're a problem and what to do about them. Its a collaboration between Restore Hibiscus & Bays and other environmental networks across the North Shore.

Photos of the Month: No peace and quiet for this little ruru

This Torbay resident was trying so hard to have a snooze - unfortunately, they picked a spot right next to the backyard tūī feeder... not the best choice... the tūī had been squawking at it all day! (Photo credit: Mary Stewart)

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
Restore Hibiscus & Bays is a community-led, not-for-profit initiative that aims to bring together, empower 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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