Success Stories

Passion, Persistence & Commitment Pays off!

More than four decades ago, Liz Morrow acquired a coastal property overlooking Mahurangi Harbour on Buckleton Bay headland which was previously utilised for farming. Over the past 19 years, she has dedicated herself to transforming the landscape into what’s now known as Omaio, a sanctuary synonymous with peace and tranquility. This endeavour has involved extensive clearing, landscaping, and rigorous animal pest control, along with invasive weed management. Omaio, meaning a haven of serenity, attained the prestigious designation of Garden of International Significance by the New Zealand Gardens Trust eight years ago and is now accessible to the public.

Liz’s affinity for gardening blossomed during her upbringing on a farm in the King Country. She honed her skills managing Eden Gardens in Epsom and overseeing exhibitions at the Ellerslie Flower Show. Transitioning into garden development, Liz has cultivated Omaio into a remarkable showcase of eco-restoration and landscaping across her 7-hectare property. This transformation highlights existing groves of ancient kauri, rimu, and puriri trees, complemented by extensive native understory plantings.

Liz emphasises the importance of sustained trapping efforts and pest management which have significantly bolstered native bird populations, including kereru, kaka, tui, ruru, piwakawaka, and kōtare. The pinnacle of success is the establishment of kiwi populations on the property. Omaio stands as a shining example of the rewards achievable through habitat enhancement, meticulous pest control, community support, and awareness regarding the threats posed by domestic pets to native birdlife.

A First for Takatu LandCare!

Takatu LandCare (TLC) has long been dedicated to pest animal and weed control across the Tāwharanui Peninsula and its neighboring regions. In a recent audit commissioned by TLC, 15 ecologically significant sites were identified as priority areas for eco-restoration on the peninsula.

These sites were meticulously chosen based on criteria that included the potential to create or extend native bush corridors and resting points for native birds, as well as areas housing rare and important habitats or fauna.

In 2023, TLC launched its first ecological restoration pilot project after successfully securing funding from Auckland Council’s Regional Environmental Heritage Fund. Jon Monk, a TLC committee member and immediate past president, played a pivotal role in initiating both the ecological audit and the pilot project.

“Healthy and expanding areas of native bush and wetlands are crucial for protecting rare and endangered native wildlife, absorbing carbon, and safeguarding our waterways by reducing nutrient runoff and silt,” says Monk. “This pilot project is not only helping us refine our restoration skills and planning but also aims to inspire other landowners to participate.”

With the support of local landowners, the first stage of the restoration pilot covered a one-hectare site on private land off Takatu Road. Over the course of a year, this involved weed clearance, site preparation, riparian planting, and pest trapping. The native re-vegetation and restoration of the stream banks aim to provide new habitats for local fauna and improve water quality at the site and downstream.

TLC volunteers, alongside local community members, played a crucial role in removing invasive species like kikuyu, pampas, mature woolly nightshade trees, and gorse. They also planted approximately 7,000 native plants in May and June. Additionally, a trap line was established to control rats, possums, and mustelids, which is already helping to manage pest activity in and around the revegetated area.

In September, Auckland Council’s Environmental Services team visited the site and were highly impressed by the quality and success of the planting efforts. They expressed their appreciation for the outstanding work carried out by TLC and the community volunteers.

This success story marks a significant step forward in TLC’s mission to restore and protect the Tāwharanui Peninsula’s unique ecosystems. With continued community support and collaboration, TLC hopes to expand its efforts and inspire more landowners to join in preserving the region’s natural heritage.

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