On the wettest day of the past few weeks - perfect for trees mind you - a group of Waimate High School students came to help with a programme of Totara (Podocarpus totara) rescue we have been running since 2015! Totara take over 100 years to reach maturity, growing to approximately 30 metres tall, and living for over 1000 years - making them one of the longest living tree species in New Zealand’s forests.
Point Bush Ecosanctuary has pockets of mature Totara trees (who could be anywhere around 1000 years old!) that survived the great fire of 1878 which destroyed most of the native bush around Waimate and on the Hunters Hills. These ancient trees have provided hundreds of years of seeds that have slowly been growing on the forest floor here at Point Bush.
While the seedlings are still young enough and small enough to successfully transplant, we have been gradually rescuing these mini Totaras in order to give them a fighting chance of survival - where they were found they had been growing under dense forest canopy meaning they would most likely have been outgunned for light, nutrients, space and security.
The team of students who bravely faced a miserable grey rainy day in the bush, helped to find and pot the latest crop of Totara seedlings to be rescued, and these will eventually be rehomed in another part of the Ecosanctuary once they have matured.
While they were here, the students were also able to see some of our majestic ancient Totara and Kahikatea, hear about our predator monitoring programme (click here to read more about our tracking tunnels!), and see some of the Totara rescue seedlings that were potted two years ago.
A huge thank you to you all!
Rose is a Trustee of Point Bush Ecosanctuary, alongside her parents Ann & Gary. You can usually find her chatting to you on our social media pages, behind the camera at an event, or being persuaded to hike the Whitehorse Big Easy Track by her two dogs.