Drayton Reserve Volunteers

Drayton Reserve

Report 24, 28 February 2018

Next Working Bees

Sunday 11th March 2018, 9am and Saturday 24th March (early to avoid Easter) 9am at the (upper) Waterfall Lookout. We will weed and water seedlings and clear an area for this year's plantings.

Working Bees for April will be Sunday 15th and Saturday 28th (back to 2-4pm).

Recent Work

We had two working bees this month, with 12 of us on 18th and 10 on the 24th. While watering, weeding and mulching were the main tasks for the first bee, significant rain (70mm) about the 20th meant watering could be suspended and we were able to start clearing the next area for planting. Firebreaks were cut by contractors again on the 22nd and again many seedlings were damaged in areas we were not expecting to be cut. We are following this up with Council staff and it seems that many other groups have similar complaints about such contractors.


We have now done final amendments and the website will be on-line on the 1st March!! Special thanks is due to Chris Bartlett for creating the site and you can blame me for the content! Thanks also to the several people who commented on the draft and any other comments will be welcome. Some of the content is still draft (including the map) or incomplete and amendments will be done from time to time to update this and other content. We hope you will find the content useful and that the site will grow to better inform everyone about the wonderful resource we have in Drayton Reserve.


As mentioned above, we can suspend watering seedlings at the moment because of the recent and expected further rainfall, but also the reduced intensity of heat from the sun now we are into Autumn. We will leave the water bins out for a little while longer in case the regular rain stops again.


The tally of Animal Pests eliminated in February was 1 possum and 2 mice. This is very low and much lower than the same time last year...a promising trend. Plant pests are still a concern however with lots of fennel, saltbush, blackberry, broom, giant hogweed (wild parsnip), succulents and gorse in flower or seed. Please at least try to cut off flower heads if you are out walking, to reduce further seeding.

Kowhai Moth/Caterpillar

kowhai mothkowhai caterpillar

The caterpillar pictured here is not  a pest. It’s the native caterpillar of the Kowhai moth. It can become “epidemic” however, defoliating Kowhai trees as well as other legumes, including broom and gorse (we hope!). There are at least two broods, Spring and Autumn and sometimes caterpillars come into houses to spin their silken cocoons for pupation. The emerging moths are about 1.5cm long. Some other bugs, including a few parasitic wasps feed on the caterpillars, so if you maintain a good variety of flowering plants in your garden, there will be a healthy population of insects and limited numbers of any pest species. The Kowhai trees will survive, as they have done for millennia!


We now have 124 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.