Wednesday, 31 January 2018

Rotoroa Island

I have been investigating and doing recces on other New Gardenlands and have found one called Rotoroa Island just east of Waiheke and next to Pakatoa Island.

Rotoroa Island is owned by the Salvation Army and was formerly a place where addicts and drunkards (these days, called alcoholics) went to dry out and hopefully find God. They would get dropped off in the island where grog was banned and learn how to live without it, growing fruit and veges and fishing whilst getting their lives back together. The rehab centre is now closed and moved to the mainland.  These days since 2012 the island is leased out for 100 years and has become a sanctuary for wildlife in partnership with Auckland Zoo.

Nowadays with biosecurity in place it's open to the public. To get there you need to take a 75 minute ferry ride (or row/sail your own boat) . Pets such as dogs and cats are banned as still is alcohol, but you can stay overnight in the accomodations bringing your own food.

I was interested to check out the plantings on this island that has become a native wildlife sanctuary for takahe, weka, brown teal, skinks, gannets, fantails saddlebacks and kiwis. It used to be pine forest and pasture but now they have planted over 40,000 native shrubs and trees so there is plenty of habitat for our native creatures.

Plants of the regenerating forest and wetlands include species such as coprosmas, hebes, kowhais, flax, cabbage trees, muhlenbeckia, oioi, puriri, karo, pseudopanax, manuka, kanuka, pohutakawa.
Some pics below...

Don't sit on me I am growing!
Rare takahe only 300 left in NZ
Takahe family by museum (and phoenix palms!)

Looking South over the new plantings at Rotoroa
Regenerating native bush habitat
Yep - its kikuyu. Perfect groundcover for native skinks!

All the native pioneer plants came by boat and planted by Treescape. A big job!