It all started in 2011 with the vision of Chris Richmond and Vicky Froude (who often walked the Whangamumu track)to transform the degraded horse paddock back into a Kahikatea swamp forest with sedge lined ponds, creating a essential habitat for wetland birds, especially pateke (brown teal). The landowners Vic and Barbara Turner were thrilled by the idea, so plans began with the help of Living Waters BoI in 2012 with the first community planting and then fencing and covenanting of the 4 hectares of flatland and hillside in 2013.
Over 20,000 plants, mostly from the Shadehouse, Kerikeri have been subsequently planted by avid volunteers. Weed control the biggest task of the project was first carried out by the owners and volunteers until funding was attained to pay a local team REPNZ to take over the huge job. Pest control has been pertinent especially with the wetland being a Norway rat hotspot.Three ponds and streams were dug 2014-2016. In January 2016 a viewing platform built by Vic Turner was blessed by Marara Hook who named it ‘Titiro Whanui’ meaning lookout point –“Looking to the Future for the benefit of our up and coming generations.”
Pateke, banded rail, spotless crake, matuku (Australasian Bittern), tuna (eels), galaxiids (whitebait) and forest birds have returned and the fern bird population exploded. The original aim to connect the oioi and mangroves to the podocarp and kauri forest to create an intact ecosystem has been achieved including reinstating a functioning floodplain.
Tangatapu – The Vision Takes Shape