22 January 2016

Efforts to protect and enhance Ōhiwa Harbour are ongoing and the community has many dedicated volunteers to thank for the progress made so far.

Volunteers, supported by Bay of Plenty Regional Council, have put countless hours into helping look after the harbour and some of the Eastern Bay’s most special places - mostly public reserves. They have built boardwalks, erected informational signs, counted birds and removed weeds. About 1000 bait stations have been regularly baited by volunteers throughout 2015 to remove rats and possums from bush, beaches and wetlands, and about 800 traps have been set with rabbit meat or eggs to remove hundreds of stoats and weasels.

The volunteer groups, supported by schools, have also planted more than 10,000 native trees and shrubs to help restore neglected areas to their former glory. Coast Care groups have planted another 23,000 sand dune plants.

Bay of Plenty Regional Council supports these volunteer initiatives with funding, equipment and advice. Council land management officer Tim Senior says the groups have done a fantastic job.

“Thanks to everyone who has helped care for and enhance Ōhiwa Harbour.”

Last November the Ōhiwa Bush Reserves Care Group hosted an end-of-year lunch to thank all the volunteers and celebrate their achievements. The volunteer groups include Ōhiwa Bush Reserve Care Group, which looks after Whangakopikopiko (Tern Island) and aims to keep it predator-free as possible, and the Nukuhou Salt Marsh Care Group. Work to control predators around Ōhiwa Harbour is also ongoing. Uretara Island is currently rat-free and a new care group is being set up to strengthen predator control in the Ōpōtiki side of the boat ramp and the surrounding area. This group has its first predator line up and is getting great results.

“Council’s long-term goal is to have predator controls right around the harbour, connecting all these various activities in different areas,” Tim says. 

Wallabies are among the animals targeted. To help control these pests around Ōhiwa and throughout the wider Bay of Plenty - the council asks people to report any wallaby sightings as soon as possible so the pest animals can be contained before they become established in new areas. Phone 0800 STOP PESTS.