Shortly after the news that we really needed to be trapping an area of around 1,000 hectares the local DOC staff hit us with a surprise. They had received a bequest (from an Australian) requesting that a substantial sum of money be spent in the Holdsworth area on biodiversity. DOC suggested that a large proportion on this money could be used to start trapping our 1,000ha, using Goodnature A24 self-resetting traps, which DOC had tested and had been getting good results.
This was going to require substantially more effort than our small group put in on their fortnightly visits to Donnelly Flat. After asking existing volunteers, and a mix of notices at Holdsworth road end, and an article in a local paper, we decided we would have enough volunteer labour available, and in October 2017 DOC advised us that 421 Goodnature A24 traps had arrived, and The Atiwhakatu Trapping Project started.
An area, centred on Donnelly Flat, of around 2km diameter would give us our 1,000ha, but with DOC “best practice” for the traps being 2 per ha we would not have enough. The plan was to set out trapping lines using existing (unofficial) tracks, and prominent ridges, where hopefully the bush would not be too dense, get some experience in how it all works, then at a later date start “filling in” the gaps.
Initially monitoring lines were put in within, and outside, our “area”, and a first monitor done in August 2017. The first traps were put in on 1 November 2017, the last of the 421 traps going in at the end of June 2018. In the meantime, two further monitors were carried out and a start made on the 6 monthly process of rebaiting the traps and replacing the gas cylinders that power them.
Continuing publicity has slowly brought in more volunteers, two local schools are bringing outdoor class pupils along to help, and a few interested families are coming also. Hopefully individuals and groups will take on the responsibility of rebaiting “their” line, and some of the more adventurous ones help with track cutting, putting out the traps and the quarterly monitors.
As we neared the end of putting out the initial traps we started to consider “what next”. DOC had financed replacement lure and gas materials for 12 months, but we needed more traps and more lure into the future. Next step, ask a friendly lawyer from our tramping club for advice as to the best sort of entity to form to raise funds, and so a move was made to establish the Holdsworth Restoration Trust in mid 2018.