The first 10 years
FoF founders, Maryann and Bill, take bird species lists on every trip into the back
country, and, over a period of time, noticed many birds they would expect to be on this list within the Flora Catchment area,
weren’t. Realising, unless something was done a.s.a.p, all the birds would be gone from this area.
First contact was made with the Department of Conservation, with the initial idea of setting up a trapping line, in August 2000. This was followed by a meeting
with DOC conservancy office, in September of that year. Bill & Maryann went along with a map of the Flora Catchment area and an idea
of where we’d like to put the trap lines. We were told, if we were to do this, then start very slowly as it is a huge task for volunteers
to take on. We were then told we would have to set up an incorporated society to be able to get funding for the project, as
DOC won’t have the money, time, nor man power to help.
We attained our 15 signatories. Friends of Flora was officially born February 2 2001!
There followed a series of meetings with DOC, to understand the best practice trapping regime. We needed to decide on trap
designs and baits. What are our targeted species; stoat, rat, mice, possum. Dave Butler (then) DOC St Arnaud, was a great
help in helping us identify our target birds, and how to set up a bird data sheet. Our hardest problem was getting the first
funding monies to get the first traps made. Some funding agencies wouldn’t pay out because we didn’t have a banking history
(which comes first…), and others wouldn’t pay out for any group working on the DOC estate. We were very pleased when
DOC Motueka Area Office gave us money they have in a special ‘Conservation for Communities’ fund. This gave us enough
funds to get timber to make the first trap tunnels. We were on the board, so to speak!
We placed an ad in the local paper for help in making the traps. A great turn out!
Also in 2002, we encouraged a group of students from Motueka High School to make our rat trap tunnels for us—the ‘Rat
Trappers’ were born! This group of enthusiastic students made all of our rat tunnels over the next few years, with many of
them joining FoF volunteers in monitoring traps monthly.
Our first AGM was held in February ‘02. Bill had been our interim Chair for our first year, so now we were underway, it was
decided to finalise this position. Chris Potter was our first elected Chair, where he remained for the next 5-years.
‘I’ line was laid out along the Flora Track from the car park to Gridiron in November 2001, and set in February ‘02.
We had a major line expansion in 2004, with DOC Motueka joining us with their own lines.
2004 saw the first attempt of establishing a Blue Duck (Whio) population back into the Flora, with 10 hand reared ducks released
in late March of that year. Unfortunately, 6 of these juveniles died of starvation and the remaining 4 were removed
and eventually placed n the Wangapeka. From this we learnt that without the parents teaching the young ducklings how to
forage, it was too hard in the harsh environment of a sub-alpine stream in winter, to find enough food to sustain them. Read more about the whio project ....
In 2006, DOC released a wild raised female whio into the Flora, from the Pearse, a week or so before she could fly, in the hope
she would remain. She did so, and paired up with one of only 2 wild males remaining, and in 2007, fledged the first 3
young in the catchment in 12 years. Along with further birds released as wild juveniles, the whio in the Flora are well on their
way to establishing a sustainable breeding population.
Line extension to Gordon’s Pyramid.
An extension of ‘big D’ over the Tableland, and ‘Z’ line running from Cobb Ridge down to Lower Junction,
in 2009. These two lines are the first to join up with the trapping groups in the Cobb Area.
All applications for funding for the imminent kiwi project drew a blank, but undeterred, Friends of Flora embarked on its first major fundraising project.
Des sets off on A Long Walk to Save the Kiwis to raise funds for the kiwi translocation.
With amazing generosity from the general public, fundraising met its $24000 target and on May 5 2010, 12 great spotted kiwi were released into the Flora, from the Clark River area of
Kahurangi. This was another highlight for all our hard working volunteers. Once the kiwi were in, we had to keep a close eye
on them, so for the first time, FoF received funding from the Lottery Grants Board, to employ Sandy and Robin Toy to not
only look after our fledging gsk population, but to also train FoF volunteers in all aspects of the ongoing care of them. Well
over a year on from their release, the birds are all still in the protected area, with a couple of minor hiccoughs of birds wondering
and one bird loosing a transmitter, we are still hopeful this bird has remained around the other birds,
and that one day we may find him again. Read more about the kiwi project ....
October 2010 - Helen Clark becomes paton. Read more about Helen's patronage ....
10 years old. See photos of friends at our 10th Anniversary party ....
FoF now has approx. 100 volunteers, servicing 590 trap stations— along with DOC’s 177—767 kilometres, and protecting
approx. 5,500 hectares— larger than the original trapping idea taken to DOC in 2000. We also collect beech seed for analysis
Read about the most recent years of Friends of Flora
images of FoF
See more photos of Foffers...