This year, one of Tui Nature Reserve’s main priorities was to build a permanent water source for the native bird and lizard life. Two ponds so far have been built and are on the way of completion, with a third one planned for next year. The largest of them was created in a natural water hole near the plateau forest. For this reason, the pond was the hardest to create, due to the masses of water that gushed through it whenever it rained.
The water would seep beneath the plastic liner and push it up to the surface, bringing with it the rocks, ponga logs and small bridge that had been laid around it. So the only solution was to fill the pond up with rocks and smooth gravel, to weigh it down. This task was repeated about three times before it seemed to finally cope with the water volume rushing into it from the stream, which only does so after heavy rain fall.
Now the pond is looking great and part of its’ surroundings, with only the solar-powered pump to be installed to create water circulation through each water source. (pond liner was donated by the Department of Conservation and pipe, battery, and parts are donated by Waterforce.
Now it was the turn of the second pond, situated at the Beech trees which are higher up. Two Belgium volunteers, (as part of our volunteer programme) arrived to assist with the building and digging.
This year there have been many volunteers arriving from all over the world to learn from the conservation work and lending a hand with these projects at Tui. The young people that participate are interested to learn the techniques of predator control and monitoring their numbers, as well as weed management and seeing the breeding programme of native lizards and Red Crowned Kakariki, not to mention being introduced to the training of our two predator dogs at the reserve.
The latest volunteers from Belgium helped with the checking of the rat grid/monitoring programme and the arrangement of the second pond, which is now waiting to be filled by rainfall. As a result, the native fauna are prospering from the now readily available water source. Bird nesting and chick sightings are high, as well as the odd lizard stalking around.
These ponds were originally built for the near-future reintroduction of South Island Robin, but now the whole sanctuary is benefitting from the hard work put into it by the many people who have contributed.