Drayton Reserve Volunteers

Drayton Reserve

Report 22, 31 December 2017

Next Working Bees

Sunday 14th Jan 2018, 2pm at Avery Place and Saturday 27th Jan 2pm at the (upper) Waterfall Lookout. We will weed and water seedlings.

Working Bees for February will be Sunday 11th and Saturday 24th.

Recent Work

We had one formal working bee this month postponed from November, and nine! casual bees, with 4 of us on 2nd, 5 on 5th, 7 on 9th, 24 on 11th, 2 on 12th , 14th and 19th, 5 on 23rd and 6 on 30th.  Meagan walked her class of 22 Mt Pleasant school pupils over on the 11th and there have been many walkers and others helping with the watering. Well done all! While we have had many seedlings die in the unexpected hot dry spell this month, we have also saved many and will need to continue with our watering efforts.

Reserve Ramble

Again a delightful relaxing end of year event, rambling through the Reserve with Colin Meurk and finding natives we were unaware of and learning about lots of plants and animals and bugs. We discovered that the oldest kahikatea in the upper valley has got fruit growing on it for the first time, so we can expect more bellbirds in the future. Colin has persuaded us that the Lacebark (tree and flowers pictured below) is the real Canterbury Christmas Tree, not the Pohutakawa (which is a NI tree). We finished up enjoying a Christmas cake iced with lacebark flowers and leaves (thanks to Barb).

lacebark leaves

lacebark tree

Narrow-leaved lacebark -  houhere – hoheria angustafolia


We now have some water bins and plastic milk bottles set out to supplement the Adopt a Tree scheme. The bins will be topped up with water from  Avery Place (thanks to Andrew Stark) and we have also left bottles at the grey willow water hole above the waterfall lookout and where the main track comes down to the stream below the waterfall (although the water hole here is sometimes dry!).

Adopt a Tree scheme

Could you please adopt about 6 plants each, tie your own cotton ribbons on their stakes so you can easily find them, try to water them once a week, carefully pull out their stakes and pour water down the stake hole (this will get the water deeper and reduce waste to evaporation), replace the stakes.  Most of the needy plants are already staked and some have old ribbons which we will gradually remove. You can use bottles from the water stations and return them or leave them at another water station.


The tally for Animal Pests for December was 1 weasel, 2 rabbits, 1 rat, 2 hedgehogs and 2 mice. We have replaced 6 broken traps so results may improve next month. Plant pests are more of an issue now with fennel, saltbush, blackberry, broom, giant hogweed (wild parsnip), succulents and gorse, all flourishing from the wet spring and some in full flower. Please at least try to cut off flower heads to reduce further seeding.    


I’m delighted to report that Chris Bartlett is back on the case and we are making good progress on loading data.


We have taken our annual panorama photos from 13 positions throughout the Reserve. First impressions are that the weeds have won this year!! The high spring rainfall has given rise to abnormally strong growth in weeds, such that it’s hard to see the seedlings at all in most places!


Our three test motels have remained vacant for 3 months, so it seems that we don’t have any native tree weta in our Reserve. We now have to look into capturing some from elsewhere and relocating them.


A big thanks to everyone who has contributed to our forest regeneration this year including our Park Ranger, Karen Smith, for coming to many of our events and helping us. It is great to see increasing numbers of people visiting the Reserve and enjoying the peaceful natural surroundings and noticing the improvements we have made. I wish you all the best for 2018, which must include many visits to our Reserve!


We now have 123 supporters on our email list and look forward to having more volunteers join us for a chat and helping hand on our future working bees. You are sure to find it very satisfying planting and caring for native trees and wildlife and restoring the Reserve to its former glory, especially for the local community.   

If you want to volunteer any time or resources to this long-term community project, contact Dave Bryce 021363498 or email: ecosolutions@xtra.co.nz.