A few weekends ago I was signed up to go and empty some stoat traps in the Ruahines on a trip led by Illona Keenan. Unfortunately there was too much snow on the access road and the trip has now been postponed to September. The trapping of stoats was targeted to an area of bush where the endangered blue ducks still swim in the river. According to the existing volunteers in the area they have also heard kiwi calling at night.
As I still fancied a walk that Saturday I drove to the Poads road and headed over to Mangahao Flats via Te Matawai. Some of the tracks around the saddles had suffered from quite a lot of wind fall and in places the going was a bit rough. The next day I walked back on some old tracks (no longer marked on the maps) over to North Ohau hut. The tracks in place have recently been cut and sometimes the going was easier than the official routes of the day before. All the routes are marked to some extent with ribbon, tape and tin can bases. This has been done by people off their own backs. It certainly made my journey quicker but also made me feel good about how people who love our back country put in such selfless work.
North Ohau is a great wee hut with a huge supply of firewood. I have always like the way that at the small further out huts there is always a supply of wood for the fire. People use some and cut some more for the next person. Sometimes they will cut more than their fair share knowing that a storm will prevent people from replacing all they have burnt. The person who cuts the wood will almost never get to burn it.
WTMC is already based on an ethos of volunteering. From, club officers, trip leaders, and lots of people doing little tasks we help new trampers discover the outdoors and existing trampers increase their skills. The more people who volunteer in the club, the more the work is shared and people are not overloaded or burnt out.
As a club we are restarting our external volunteer work. We represent a substantial proportion of the Wellington outdoor community and it is fitting that we also are proportionally represented in the voluntary community work.
We have two initiatives under way and will hopefully get a third in the new year:
1) Weekend volunteer work on Kapiti Island. We have already had two successful trips and wish to make this a regular fixture on the schedule. We need people to be the trip leader for these popular trips, (as well as to go on them.) Learn more about the most recent volunteer trip and the volunteer work we’re involved with, in last month’s newsletter.
2) Stoat trapping for Blue Duck protection in the Ruahines. Illona has led this initiative and we hope to have some more details shortly.
As part of the external volunteer push the club is giving $500 to help with the cost of the stoat trapping.
We will also soon have more details from FMC of how the governments $700,000 for volunteer groups will be spent. What is becoming clear as DOC reviews it’s conservation management plans is that giving small amounts of money to volunteer groups can get very large conservation gains. It is perhaps for the older generation back to the future but seems an effective way forward.
It is time for us as a club to go and cut the wood for the next person at the hut!
Editor’s note: Volunteer opportunities about – The transport officer is also looking for two volunteers to help occasionally clean the vans.