Field Trip

The field trip on Friday 06 September 2019 is included in your forum registration.

  • Pick up from Rydges hotel
  • Transport to the different stops
  • Light lunch
  • Transport back to Rydges hotel and/or the airport

Due to the interactive nature of the field trip advanced confirmation is required (this will be included in the registration form in due course). Remember to tick whether you will be able to take part in the field trip.

Stop 1: Bexley Wetlands and Christchurch Residential Red Zone

The Bexley Wetland is of cultural importance to Canterbury, as it was a source of mahinga kai (food and other resources). When European settlers arrived Christchurch it was covered in extensive wetlands. The estuary and river mouth provide resources that cater to abundant bird life, incorporating salt marsh, salt meadow, coastal bush and freshwater wetland areas. The settlement ponds have also attracted birds, which have moved into the Wetlands area. A significant portion of the local community has for some time been concerned about, and active in, saving the unique habitats of Bexley Wetland. 12.5 hectares of Bexley Wetland are now an Ecological Heritage Site.

The earthquakes during 2010-2011 led to the ground in Christchurch experiencing liquefaction, a process where silt soils act like a liquid when under stress. In the Eastern suburns of Christchurch, 400,000 tonnes of silt rose to the surface. Due to this soil damage, the Government declared areas around the Avon River an uninhabitable ‘Red Zone’, and 7000 homes have been removed from an area of 600 hectares.

What will happen to the land? There are now plans to plant an 11-km ‘Green spine’ as a nature corridor from the city to the seas following the river banks that feature walkways, biking tracks and wetland developments. Regenerate Christchurch states “We have an exciting, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a legacy that will deliver benefits for Christchurch and New Zealand’s future generations.” The Council is considering 10 proposals for future land use, in consultation with public submissions.

Stuff_Before
Red Zone – Before the 2011 earthquake (Photo courtesy of Stuff.co.nz)
Stuff_After
Red Zone circa 2017. (Photo courtesy of Stuff.co.nz)

Stop 2: Travis Wetlands (short wander)

Travis Wetland is the last large freshwater wetland in Christchurch – an important habitat for native wetland plants and birds. There are over fifty species of birds: pukeko, five native ducks, Scaup, Grey Teal, Shoveler paradise, Shelduck, the Grey duck and the rare White heron. About half of Christchurch’s pukeko live here in winter – up to 700 birds, one of the largest concentrations in New Zealand. Many of them breed here. Travis Wetland is a vital link in a network of green spaces and waterways that support bird life in Christchurch.

Native tree species (kahikatea, totara and matai) were planted in 2000 at an area known as the Millennium Forest.

Travis Wetland, Christchurch
Travis Wetland, Christchurch (Photo by Sandra Velarde)

Stop 3: Radcliffe Road native reserve – part of STYX Living Laboratory

The Styx Living Laboratory Trust was set up in 2002 to realise Christchurch City Council’s Vision in The Styx – Develop a “Living Laboratory” that focuses on learning & research in the Styx River catchment. In particular, it emphasises community involvement through research and education to understand the river ecosystem, and use this knowledge to restore the river system.

At the Radcliffe Road site within the STYX, a rakau rongoā is being established. Rakau rongoā is a system of traditional Māori healing using native floral herbal preparations. We will help grow the rongoā by tree planting.

Planting native trees
Planting native trees at Radcliff Road site (Photo by Sandra Velarde)

Stop 4: Willow Bank Wildlife Reserve (Zoo)

Willowbank is part of Operation Nest Egg, designed to give species a better chance of survival through captive hatching.

Willowbank is a New Zealand leader in conservation, with success in many national, Australasian and in-house breeding programmes focusing on New Zealand native and endangered species, as well as many rare and heritage breeds of farm stock.

Scientific research projects, and local partners including the Department of Conservation, the Styx River Living Laboratory, the Rare Breeds Society, the NZ Conservation Trust and the South Island Wildlife Hospital, are supported by and work alongside Willowbank. The reserve also hosts school visits for children to discuss and learn about New Zealand’s native heritage as part of the school curriculum.

Willowbank is home to many rare and endangered farm species, including:

  • Arapawa Island goat
  • Kune Kune pigs
  • Auckland Island pigs
  • Damara sheep
  • Enderby Island rabbits
  • Awassi sheep
  • Karakul sheep
  • Zebu cattle

These animals are part of a larger breeding programme between Willowbank and an offsite farm where the animals are rotated from display to pasture.

Thank you to our field trip coordinator: Alan Leckie, Cantabrian, forester, tree planter, environmental volunteer (Scion & Centre for Integrated Biowaste research).

Alan Leckie, Cantabrian, forester, tree planter, environmental volunteer and activist (Scion & Centre for Integrated Biowaste research)

 

Would your organisation like to sponsor the field trip, other participants or forum materials (e.g. bags, lanyards, speakers gifts)? For more information, or to discuss a sponsorship package tailored to you, contact the Forum organisers: oceaniaesforum@gmail.com