Student power in spades at Pukemokemoke

Following successful path laying and weed pulling adventures in March, EcoQuest Education Foundation decided another visit to Pukemokemoke would be in order.  Lecturer Robyn Sinclair reports.

I love the drive to Pukemokemoke from our field centre in Kaiaua – lots of happy looking cows and at this time of year frolicking sheep! And after an hour, in midst of all the agriculture, stands the hill alone: Pukemokemoke.

On the day we turned up to volunteer, it stood even more brooding than usual in a shroud of rain. The heavy weather wasn’t enough to dampen the spirits of the 26 full-of-energy American university students however.

After arriving and having a brief introduction, Warwick Silvester once more gave the students a brilliant talk on the evolution of plants in New Zealand – they couldn’t ask for a better introduction to our native flora. We had morning tea, and then were able to take some shelter in the Tauhei Marae thanks to the generosity of George Hopa who also gave the students valuable insight into the significance of Pukemokemoke, as well as the importance of its restoration, to tangata whenua.

Not long after, the sun made a most welcome appearance and work began in earnest. Splitting into two groups, half went on a tour of the reserve and the other half started work with a swap over after lunch. The tower was once more a popular stop on the tour – views somewhat curtailed by the weather but the addition of the interpretation panels meant that the locality was still appreciated.

Down near the start of the loop track willing workers made great progress on the new boardwalk. Warwick and Alan had set us the challenge of getting 400 trees and shrubs planted in and around the picnic area along Mangatea Track and we did it!  The teams worked efficiently and refused to give up at home time with only two wheelbarrows of plants left – it is true, many hands make light work.

Once again the visit to Pukemokemoke was a win for everyone. Thanks for having us, it was a pleasure being there and I’m already looking forward to next time.

Visit the EcoQuest website by clicking here.


Credit where it is due:  Laynie Saidnawey and Brianna Ramsey are busy constructing in the photo above. Those up on the tower are, from left: Shaw Akutsu, Katie Swan, Taylor Ackerman, David King, Emily Burdett, Kaitlin Muller, Sarah Neely, Sarah Tierney, and in front Emily Malkaukas, Janelle Ostroski, Susan Torman, Olivia Cushing, Mike Quinlan and Chiara.

And finally, Kent Harlow contemplates a totara:

Well done Robyn and students, you truly are awesome!

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Number 8 Network - a community website for the rural areas northeast of Hamilton, NZ, is run by Gordonton journalist/editor Annette Taylor.

One thought on “Student power in spades at Pukemokemoke

  • November 6, 2012 at 6:00 pm

    well done indeed, congrats to Robyn and to the N8N!


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