Where and who
Image credit: Imogen Warren Photography.
In November 2016 the Matuku Reserve Trust was able to buy 37 hectares of bush and wetland, naming it “Matuku Link”, after an intensive fundraising campaign. Buying it ensured the safety of the wildlife and forms a vital connection by linking neighbouring eco-restoration projects Ark in the Park; Habitat te Henga and the Forest & Bird reserve Matuku. Over 90% of New Zealand’s wetlands have been drained or filled, yet on Auckland’s doorstep is Te Henga wetland, the largest wetland in the region.
Matuku Link, at the head of the Te Henga wetland, consists of river flats at the foot of a large native forest block in Auckland’s Waitakere River valley. It is a home to rare wetland species such as our namesake matuku (Australasian bittern), puweto (spotless crake), pateke (brown teal), freshwater fish species and native bats foraging along the river forest edge. The kauri and broadleaf forest is home to many bush birds like kereru, fantail, tui, ruru, and tomtits.
Regular volunteer days have resulted in many thousands of trees, sedges, & reeds being planted to restore the alluvial flats to a range of wetland habitats. These plants are eco-sourced and grown in our own nursery tended by volunteers.
Ponds have been created with interconnecting boardwalks and trails made accessible for people of all abilities while the old barn has been transformed into a sustainable Wetland Education Centre and volunteer meeting place. More info about us here.
Matuku Link is 37 hectares of wetland and native bush located at 111 Bethells Road, Te Henga, West Auckland. It is located at the head of the Te Henga Wetland, the largest wetland in the Auckland region. Adjacent to the road are the nursery, the barn and the house. Our volunteers prepare and tend the eco-sourced plants in the nursery, which we use to revegetate our wetland. The house is tenanted and the barn has been extensively renovated to provide a volunteer base and a Sustainable Wetland Education Centre.
An extensive array of predator control timed to coincide with neighbouring projects Ark in the Park, Matuku Reserve, Habitat te Henga and Forest Ridge, now protects bush birds in the excellent lowland native forest and the wetland species in the river valley like our namesake matuku (bittern), the re-introduced pateke (brown teal), matata (fernbird) and puweto (spotless crake). It also hosts several native fish species, tuna (eels) and koura (fresh water crayfish).
But it is also a great habitat for people. Because it is flat, it is readily accessible and groups and individuals of all ages can join our working bees, annual Open Day and special group tours. In the past years, these visits have been one of our unexpected successes. Thousands of people experiencing a wetland, sometimes for the first time, and learning of its benefits for humans and animals alike.
From November 2016 to October 2020 this whole project was run by volunteers. Thanks to funding through the Sustainable Business Network for Jobs4Nature, we now have four people working for us – building the boardwalks and paths, controlling willows and controlling other pest plants and animals. We also have a part time project manager/volunteer coordinator funded by the Department of Conservation Community Fund. And we hope to employ an educator in 2021. But we can’t do anything without our volunteers.
Matuku Reserve Trust owns Matuku Link and it is governed by four hardworking, unpaid trustees, assisted by the dedicated voluntary secretary. Matuku Reserve Trust is a charitable trust so any donation over $5 is tax deductible, or support us in other ways. More info here.
Visit our YouTube channel for more videos of group visits, amazing wildlife (harrier chasing pateke chicks!) and volunteer stories.
Chad Wilkie - trustee
John Sumich - trustee
A science degree at Auckland was followed with a medical degree from Otago University. Setting up his general medical practice in West Auckland where he had been brought up, he in later decades initiated and led the successful Ark in the Park project in 1999.
Having bird species previously seen only on off shore reserves in his beloved Waitakere Ranges was a thrill shared by the many others volunteering and working at the Ark in the Park.
Starting a second project, Habitat te Henga, adjacent to the Ark in the Park with an aim of protecting wetland species and re-introducing Pateke (brown teal) has also been successful.
John Staniland - trustee
He is a founder and honorary ranger of the Society’s 120 hectare Matuku Reserve adjacent to the “Matuku Link”, having organised the purchase of several blocks of forest to bring the reserve to its present size. He has a good knowledge of the vegetation of this area and its bird life and is particularly interested in New Zealand’s different forest types and in educating people about them. John is also active in the Ornithological Society and A Rocha NZ (Christians in Conservation).
Geoff Davidson - trustee
Conservation issues pushed me into a job and an all-consuming hobby which have shaped every day since then. The job, growing native plants, quickly morphed into a full-time nursery business which in time introduced many plants unknown to the New Zealand public. The hobby kicked in and it became addictive. A group of conservationists and I have spent the past 36 years amassing 7,000 hectares of land as nature reserves around the country. It is an ongoing pleasure seeing nature take control and proceed to reintroduce all those species that once flourished in abundance. It has been a life full of satisfaction and gives hope for the future.
Diane Brunton - advisor
In addition to my ongoing research on avian cultural evolution, I have published 100+ research publications in peer reviewed journals on other ecology and conservation focused projects.
Tim Livingstone - advisor
Cate Macinnis-Ng - advisor
Cate also holds a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship from the Royal Society of New Zealand. Cate is particularly interested in climate change impacts on native forest and her main research focus is The Kauri Drought Experiment where she is exploring the impacts of low water availability on our largest tree species.
Stephen Lethbridge - advisor
Annalily van den Broeke - secretary
Sir Bob and Lady Barbara Harvey - patrons
Harvey and his wife Barbara, a practicing midwife, have five adult children: Celia, Tessa, Claris, Rupert and Fraser.
Harvey was awarded the United Nations Mayors for Peace Award in 1998, the New Zealand Medal for Community Service in 1990, and a Queen’s Service Order for Services to the Community in 1991. He was knighted as a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit in the 2013 New Years Honours list.
Secretary Annalily van den Broeke
021-2207136 or email us at email@example.com
111 Bethells Road, Te Henga, Auckland
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