Successful Planting Day

Despite a thunderstorm over Auckland at 5:30am on Sunday morning (25/08/13) 96 people got to Sandspit by 8:00am prepared to plant trees on Motuora. Although cloudy with occasional drizzle the day was calm so the trip to Motuora was smooth and the Kawau Kat was able to nose in to the shore enabling folk to disembark using a gang plank.

Embarking the Kawau Kat to leave Motuora

Ray Lowe, MRS Chairman welcoming volunteers

Before planting began Ray Lowe, MRS Chairman, welcomed the large contingent of Bridgestone workers as well as regular members and members of Forest and Bird who had braved the elements to come and plant trees. He also acknowledged Bridgestone Ltd’s sponsorship of MRS. Bridgestone Ltd have supported the restoration work on Motuora by encouraging their workers to participate in the workdays and recently the Company became an important financial sponsor of the Motuora Restoration Society.

Bill Dyall & Ray Lowe


Bill Dyall, Bridgestone Ltd Corporate Accounts Manager, responded to Ray’s welcome and spoke enthusiastically about the participation of the Bridgestone team in the restoration work before he and Trish Southan, Bridgestone Consumer Business, presented a sign to be mounted on  a sign on the potting shed that recognizes MRS sponsors.

Bill Dyall & Trish Southan  presenting sign acknowledging Bridgestone’s sponsorship of MRS

After the formalities some 5,000 trees were planted by the 96 volunteers under the able guidance of regular MRS members and volunteers, the group of Forest and Bird Society members present and MRS committee members. Many children also helped with the planting.

Busy planters


Planting was completed before noon so there was ample opportunity for folk to explore the island and see some of the bird life and the bountiful Kowhai and Manuka flowers.

Kowhai planted in 2003

The Motuora Restoration Society is grateful for the support of members and volunteers as we recognise that it is a considerable commitment to travel to Sandspit early on a Sunday morning and contribute to the cost of hiring the ferry to Motuora. MRS subsidises the ferry costs as we want as many people as possible to experience the magic of Motuora.

We hope you will come again.



A gallery of photos from Sunday 25th August 2013:

 Click on image to see larger version.


Birds eye view of Motuora

While the most noticeable aspect of the restoration of Motuora Island has been the transformation of grass paddocks into bush, behind the scenes is the very important job of controlling weeds. MRS committee member Helen Lindsay leads the weed control program on the island.

In September Helen came out to the island to continue her war against weeds. Over three weeks we (Helen, Sian, and I) managed to grid search a large proportion of the island and remove any weeds lurking within the plantings and bush remnants.  We also managed to check some of the cliffs by abseiling with help from Richard Sharp.

However, there are some areas on the island we cannot abseil to and these include 2 rock stacks on the eastern side of the island.  To help with the control of weeds in these hard to reach places we enlisted the help of Skywork Helicopters. On a calm day in early October Skyworks came out and sprayed boxthorn, boneseed and a few pine trees that we were unable to reach.

Skyworks helicopter spraying boxthorn on a rock stack

An added bonus of having the helicopter out here was that we were able to get a bird’s eye view of the island and take some aerial photos to compare with earlier shots taken from the air.

Early aerial photo of Motuora

Motuora now


Motuora 2004

Motuora now

Motuora from the SE

Motuora from the NW

September & August Workday

Thirty-two volunteers enjoyed a beautiful spring day on Motuora. Guided by the Island Managers Toby Shanley and Sian Potier as well as MRS Committee member Helen Lindsay the volunteers accomplished much needed track and view site maintenance as well as pricking out Pohutukawa, Mahoe and Karaka seedlings into individual potting bags.

Muehlenbeckia engulfing flowering gorse

Motuora is looking fabulous with lush bush now cloaking much of the Island. And it’s amazing to see how the native plants are choking out the little remaining gorse. See image of Muehlenbeckia engulfing a flowering gorse bush.

However there is still much work required to continue the restoration of Motuora. Infill planting where trees have been lost as well as the planting of canopy trees will continue along with the planned translocation of birds, lizards, skinks, gekos and insects. All this depend on the support of willing volunteers. So please don’t hesitate to get involved.

Pricking out seedlings

Track maintenance team enjoying morning tea break

Sian Potier, Island Co Manager with MRS Committee members Kit Brown, Helen Lindsay and Kevin Hawkins contemplating a new planting area on Motuora

August Workday

We had a great turnout at the end of August for the first and only planting day for the year, with the Kawau Cat bringing around 65 people out to the island. With a great effort from everyone we managed to get all the remaining plants in the ground and a great day was had by all. The following photos were supplied by Eleanor Barwell the HR advisor of Bridgestone New Zealand Ltd, one of our sponsors.

Sian and Toby helping volunteers land from the Kawau Kat


Infill planting