Give Nature A Helping Hand with Friends of Rotoiti
In 2001 the Friends of Rotoiti (FOR) was formed as a partnership between a motivated group of locals and the Department of Conservation. The goal was to benefit the newly created Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project (RNRP), a “Mainland Island” restoration project established in 1996 to enable the recovery of an alpine honeydew beech forest ecosystem at Lake Rotoiti in Nelson Lakes National Park.
This cooperative approach extends the pest control of introduced predators such as rats, stoats, possums, feral cats and wasps. These introduced pests have had a devastating effect on many unique habitats in New Zealand, with many endemic birds such as kea, kaka and robin struggling to maintain healthy breeding populations.
A network of rat trapping around the St Arnaud village commenced in December 2001 involving both locals and a large group of Nelson-based members. This was closely followed by stoat trapping along Rainbow Road on the eastern side of the St Arnaud Range. Over subsequent years, further stoat trapping lines were established along the Lakeside Track on the western side of the lake, Mt Robert Road, the Speargrass Track and Tophouse Road. Possum trapping has been added to most lines and feral cats are trapped using live capture cages on private property adjoining the National Park. Wasp control is done around the St Arnaud village utilizing Permex powder to destroy individual nests and in recent years members have assisted DOC staff with the annual wasp control operation in the Park using Fipronil (vespex) based poison in bait stations.
The Friends of Rotoiti are involved in a new translocation of the great spotted kiwi called the Friends of Rotoiti Great Spotted Kiwi Project. This project commenced in 2017 with funding from the DOC Community fund and will continue over the next 3 years with the objective to complete the transfer of enough founder birds to have a robust genetic base for the population to thrive. These birds will be translocated to the Rotoiti Nature Recovery Project Mainland Island at Lake Rotoiti. This area is intensively pest controlled and will allow the Great Spotted Kiwi for the long-term support of research into both land-scale pest control and into great spotted kiwi biology. Our sense of achievement is to be able to help the environment of the area so that it is available for future generations to enjoy. To learn more about our volunteer work, to contact us or to become a valued member / supporter please visit our website, www.friendsofrotoiti.co.nz