Moturua wattle project
In May this year Tim Armitage and his wife Helen started a five year programme to control brush, black and golden wattle on Moturua Island. They will return to the island for a month each year for the duration. Bruce and Marion Goodfellow have kindly offered their cottage for accommodation.
I first met Tim when he was a week into the job and he was a bit daunted by the enormity of what he had so generously offered to do. But he kept at it, with Helen's support, and has made a significant dent in the wattle and pine on the island. We asked him to leave the black wattles in Homestead Bay as a food source until our native planting comes into production, but there were plenty more elsewhere to deal to.
Tim has a project management background, which was seen in his methodical approach to the job. He found drilling and filling of larger trees worked well once he was equipped with a suitably powerful drill for the job and had modified his drench gun holster (a 2l plastic milk bottle). He kept GPS coordinates of all his work areas which have since been mapped by DOC. Moturua Island caretaker Andy Mitchell provided coastal access with the Explore barge and was an excellent wattle spotter. The weather was great in May, which helped working conditions and allowed Tim to do 143 hours in the field. He only lost 3 hours work time due to rain.
And yes – Tim and Helen are coming back next year. He plans to revisit, audit and review the areas already covered to determine regrowth and kill rates. He will increase the footprint in each bay, targeting Mangahawea and Army Bays.
Huge thanks to Tim and Helen – our wonderful wattle weedbusters.