Journal archives for January 2017

January 09, 2017

Cruising the Tohe Twice in One Day

What an amazing way to start the new year! Usually when we do a Tohe run it is only one way, tide dependent. Weather or not we go northbound or sounthbound depending on what the buses are doing and if the tide is late enough we can even aviod them which is better still.

On the 1st Jan 2017 @pjd1 and the whanau rocked up so we decided to do a late afternoon Tohe run as the tides and weather was right. pjd1, one of his tama and my son went up the road while his wahine and the other tama came with me up the Tohe. We syncronised watches as we had to meet at Te Paki stream by 5.30pm so they could swap over and I take the ones who went up the road back down the Tohe. And just as the tide waits for no one, I wait for no one when what I am doing is tide dependent.

I know each time we do a Tohe run that there are always new things to see, but I did think that going up and back down the Tohe in one day would mean that the same things would be spotted and there would not be much difference. Not so - there were different things found on each run which just goes to highlight for me even more what an amazing place the Tohe is and how lucky I am to have easy access :)

Here is a selection of plants, birds, fish and other marine life that we found.

Posted on January 09, 2017 05:59 by tangatawhenua tangatawhenua | 16 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 10, 2017

Seeing Otaipango Through New Eyes

Anyone who has had the misfortune / privilege of being dragged around home by me will realise within a short amount of time that I love home with a passion, both the moana and the whenua and all that is within. Even though I live here and see the moana and bush every single day, I still enjoy it, and often think to myself I am so lucky to be from here and live here.

On the 2nd January 2017 the whanau headed down to the main beach and everyone went fishing, except me and @pjd1 who I conned / convinced to explore a gut with me. We headed into the G2 (second gut) where he passed his practical assessment of Wheke Spotting 101 with flying colours - you can read the assessments here:
Wheke Spotting 101 - Practical Assessment Part A - spot a wheke with guidence
Wheke Spotting 101 - Practical Assessment Part B - spot a wheke without guidence

We floated out from the low intertidal zone to the shallow subtidal and there he told me that he had not seen the amount of diversity that is here except at the Poor Knights and Mokohina which are off shore islands and I was shocked! This is the world that I am used to and that I think is the norm and yet I now know, from someone who has been to lots of places in Aotearoa, that here is even more remarkable than what even I thought!

What was even more exciting that we achieved a trifector first with a Berthella ornata that neither of us had seen before or knew what it was and this was also the first obs for NW and on the species page is says Endemic to New Zealand, where it is becoming less common.

Here is a small selection showing the diversity we saw in a 2 hour period, around the time of the low.

Posted on January 10, 2017 05:04 by tangatawhenua tangatawhenua | 12 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment

January 14, 2017

Location Names May Not Be Accurate Due to Poor System

When I first joined NW the Location Name for each obs would be accurate, as I could put the place in, move the pin to the right location and that was it.

About six months ago the system changed so that when I moved to pin, the location name changed to what the system thought it should be. I did try and get them to leave that part as it was but to no avail so each obs I now have to change the location name back to what it should be grrrr.....

Henderson Bay locates to the ocean (fair enough) but as soon as I move the pin onto land it changes, depending on where on land (still in Henderson Bay) to Northland, or Houhora 0484. This would be like an obs done in Mission Bay with the pin in the water changing to Auckland as soon as it goes onto land.

But that is not the worst ....

I go up and down Ninety Mile Beach (Oneroa a Tohe, affectionately called the Tohe), and will always take photos of obs. Now when I am out there, I know I am out there, there is the ocean on one side and the dunes on the other. However, now if I do an obs from the Tohe, depending on where the pin is along the Tohe, it will change to any of the following:
Cape Reinga - yet no lighthouse in sight or 2 seas meeting
Te Kao - Located on the reaches of the Parengarenga Harbour on the east coast - the Tohe is the west coast
Ngataki - Located inland and on the main road north
Pukenui - Located on the Houhora Harbour, east coast
Waiharara - Inland farming settlement
Waipapakauri - ok, so there is an onramp there to the Tohe but the Tohe is the Tohe
Ahipara - the settlement at the bottom of the Tohe

Ninety Mile Beach IS NOT Cape Reinga, Te Kao, Ngataki, Pukenui, Waiharara, Waipapakauri or Ahipara but those who changed the system can not seem to grasp that ....

Now if I only did a few obs now and again I would change the location name back to what it should be after having the system change it thinking it knows better the lands of tangata whenua than tangata whenua. However I have just spent one week putting up a week of obs from a week ago and it has been driving me nuts and I am sick of it ....

So I have three options:
1. Stop using Nature Watch
This may give you an indication of my frustration over the last six months. However, I enjoy photographing around my beautiful lands and especially when I get comments like, "that's strange" "new northern limit" "never seen that colour before" etc :) I also know that here is not an area that has alot of obs but it is a biodiversity hotspot and my obs do help contribute to the knowledge base of what I find.

I have also met wonderful people, learnt so much and seen so much, not just from what I put up, but from what others put up as well.

2. Not put so many obs up
I could limit the amount I put up and only put up new things I find which would cut the amount of obs I put up to probably no more than 10 per month and change the system location name

3. let the system think it knows better
Just let the system use what it wants to use which would mean that there would be strange obs, such as sharks in Waiharara, or pingao in Ngataki

I am still thinking about what I am going to do, or not as the case may be, but at this point in time, I will let the system overide the knowlege of tangata whenua and put whatever location name it wants, but I will put a copy and paste disclaimer on all my obs that I have to do now to get up to date. After that, we will see.

Posted on January 14, 2017 02:18 by tangatawhenua tangatawhenua | 18 comments | Leave a comment

January 15, 2017

Tapotupotu - An Unexplored Wonderland Just Calling

Accessible by a windy metal road, around a corner the vista of Tapotupotu opens before you, enticing you and drawing you down.

One of two beaches situated on the very northern coast of the north island that has road access, Tapotupotu as been shaped by the forces of nature and is is nestled between two prominent headlands with a stream and DOC / Ngati Kuri campground at the eastern end (right hand side of the above photo). Rocky outcrops with sheer drops and very dangerous currents swirl around. In fact this is one place that I have seen a DOC sign warning that lives have been lost and the only place where I have nearly been swept out to sea.

Knowing that there are rock pools on the western end that are large as well as others that are deep, plunging down 4+ metres with straight sides, exploring here was something I meant to do all last year after I joined NatureWatch, but never got around to it.

This year I was there waiting for @pjd1 and whanau who were walking from Rerenga Wairua and the tide was out so I thought I should do a reconnaissance around the rocks while waiting. I had left my wetsuit and underwater camera at home which was a good idea, else I could have been gone for hours with the car keys. The place had not changed since the last time I was there over 10 years ago so I knew I had to return with proper gear and see what I could find.

A week later @rongoa and I did a day trip up there and oh what paradise! I had the bright idea that we would start at the large rockpool the furtherest around before the gut that can not be crossed and four hours later we got out, not becasue we had finished there, but because the tide was on it's way in.

This rock pool cuts off from the ocean approx 1 1/2 hours after the high and it is at least 10m x 10m. In the main area the depth ranges from shallow to about 2m but in one corner there is a round straight drop, going about 4m down. A very different habitat from Otaipango, Henderson Bay as this one has large boulders strewn around, probably having been broken off the cliffs towering above.

Below are a few finds showcasing the diversity in this one pool that has not been fully explored. Needless to say, I will be doing more explorations there as I can fit it into my busy schedule :)

Posted on January 15, 2017 04:33 by tangatawhenua tangatawhenua | 16 observations | 0 comments | Leave a comment