Monday, February 16, 2009

Western Ruahines - Heritage Lodge

This summer, Forest & Bird have been running a series of walks to various parts of the region. Today the bus trip was taking us to Heritage Lodge in the Western Ruahines, run by the Deerstalkers Association. We were met at the carpark by a member who told us that there are not so many (exotic) deer by the river flats in this area these days. It seems that many of the deerstalkers are just as interested in preserving other wildlife, especially the endangered blue duck which is found in upper reaches of the river. The deerstalkers are heavily involved in a scheme in which trap lines are being laid to catch stoats and rats, in the hope that blue duck will be able to extend their range.

It was a gorgeous summer's day, sunny but not too hot. The first part of the walk was over farmland on which quite a lot of bush regeneration is happening, and we had beautiful views of the ranges in all their rugged beauty.

Here is one of the traps, a DOC approved design, that obviously caught something if you look at the tail. If you are horrified by trapping, I am sure you will get over that if you read a little about the impact these introduced animals, especially stoats, are having on our endemic birds.

There is a wonderful little humped bridge to cross once you reach the bush area.

We were warmly welcomed into Heritage Lodge and people ate their lunch there. Well, at least most people ate their lunch there: I had got my wires crossed and thought I was on a half day trip so had just brought a snack with me. Then we had the options of relaxing in the hut, taking a 'hard' walk down to the river and back up, or taking an 'easy' walk along the ridge line. I opted for the easy walk!

We arrived back in town at about 4:45. Fortunately for the others involved in my Sound of Music rehearsal, this did give me time to whizz home and have a shower first!!

For those who would like to know more about the Oroua valley stoat trapping project, there is a pdf file you can access part way down this DOC volunteers page, under the "Oroua Valley Stoat trapping project" heading. Actually, I found this whole page quite enlightening... I had no idea I could volunteer to do some of these things!!


  1. Oooh, wasn't it in the Ruahines (an Rimutukas) that the last living Huias wee found? I know I always kept a hopeful eye open when I was tramping in them :-)

  2. I found this on a website so maybe it was the Ruahines and Rimutakas:
    "In the 1880’s Maori chiefs in the Manawatu and Wairarapa regions put a tapu on the huia, which meant that it was illegal under Maori law to kill huia. The Maori chiefs asked the Europeans to stop killing the huia as well. There were even some attempts made to transfer huia to island sanctuaries. Unfortunately these attempts were not successful."

    I must admit you have piqued my interest and I don't know the answer so I will have to try and find out!

  3. I found something on the DOC website that says it was last seen in the Tararua Range in 1903. But it was 'last seen' in 1907.... somewhere in the lower NI but not sure where yet ;-)

  4. Such a shame that such a lovely bird died out. A splendid example of sexual dimorphism, too (bill shape).

  5. I see that according to Wikipedia, the last confirmed sighting was in the Tararuas.

  6. great post. It good to read about others walking. did a 9 k walk and it nearly "killed" me! :o)

    verificaion word:- grump!!!

  7. hahahhahaha simon - grump indeed! I am not nearly as fit with walking as I was. I have been doing quite a lot of swimming lately though, and my ankles which were sore for ages when I got home from Europe, seem to have finally sorted themselves. I'll take to some more walking when the weather cools down a bit more.