This Society of willing volunteers continues to live the dream of helping to restore the Hamurana Springs Recreation Reserve to a very special and unique place on our planet, for the pleasure and enjoyment of locals and visitors from all over the world. Positive feedback by way of verbal comments and thanks from visitors, plus increasing hits to our fantastic website, not only buoys our spirits but also indicates to us that we are on the right track and that our efforts are appreciated.
Before highlighting good progress on a number of fronts, I would like to acknowledge on your behalf some special contributors to our progress and success over the last year.
- Our much respected, loved and generous Patron, Ynys Fraser, who inspires us and who has donated both time and money toward the History Book project. Thank you Ynys, in our books you are our own Queen Elizabeth !
- Your Committee, generous with their time and wise as well. Both Bruce Meikle and John Reid are sadly standing down for work reasons. Bruce has been our Secretary for as long as I remember, his contribution to the Society therefore, has been fantastic. John has been Vice President this year, and developed from scratch a detailed Health and Safety process and paperwork, to help protect over-zealous and aging volunteers from bodily harm. He and Mel were also instrumental in the design, print and circulation of a new flyer to help drum up new members. Thank you both, you will be missed around the Committee table.
- Jerry and Cherry Douglas. No one does more for HSIS. Cherry has been Treasurer for at least the last 6 years. Jerry works to keep us on the straight and narrow, succinctly. He built the most solid picnic table ever built, now gracing the Ynys Fraser Walkway. The Douglas’s host all Committee meetings and all work-day lunches. More behind the scenes, very generous with vehicles and equipment. HSIS icons, thank you both.
- Paul Sampson, Engineer and Builder, who constructed and installed most of the Seats and Tables, now emblazoned with the HSIS brand, throughout the central portion of the Reserve. Paul, for the hours and hours of work, thank you, for a sensational enhancement to the visitor experience.
- Barry and Lyn Menzies, almost full-time workers in the Reserve. Without them the planted areas would have been swallowed up by weeds and not look like a park. The Mower Man and Lyn are very special people. Barry turned 75 in May and we implore him to take it easy. The Committee would like to reimburse some of your costs tonight, thanking you both for what you do.
- Herma Snel, our amazing Webmaster. Herma has put the Society, the Springs and the Golf Club on the international cyberspace map. It is a fantastic website. Herma, we are indebted to you.
- The Hamurana Golf Club, for funding the website hosting and associated costs, also for the use of these Clubrooms for the AGM.
- Kerry Oates, for designing and managing the Pest Control initiative, one of the most productive projects we have embarked on, as you will see in Kerry’s presentation. Also, Alice West and all the volunteer trap checkers, who all donate their precious spare time.
- The staff at DOC Rotorua office for being great people, supporting and understanding HSIS and very generous in regard to plants and weed control materials. Especially Shane Grayling, Paul Cashmore, Nicki Douglas, Simon Alefosio-Tuck, John Tupara.
- Hi Flo Pumps for the donation to the Society of fire fighting plant and equipment, which has allowed us to make headway at last against piles of cleared weeds.
- Christine Findon of Keep Rotorua Beautiful and the team from the Novotel who weeded the new planting between the road and the golf course, plus tidied the car park and the Bioswale. They also donated 8 sizeable Kowhai trees, now planted in a grove beside the Ynys Fraser Walkway.
I am bound to have overlooked someone, if so, I apologise and say thank you to you too !
As you can see from the above, we are not alone in our Restoration efforts, in a year of many more highlights than lows. The highlights include :
- The History of the Hamurana Springs Reserve book project, funded by HSIS, Rotorua Energy Charitable Trust and our Patron. More about this from author Deb Burton shortly.
- The Pest Control initiative, to help eradicate the Reserve of Mustelids and thus help restore the birdlife population. More great news from Kerry shortly.
- Ongoing clearance and weed control, with a focus on Willows, Blackberry, Robinia, etc. and the opening up of the true left bank of the tributary stream next to the Concession area.
- The donation from DOC of 650 native plants to the value of $2200, to be planted in the Spring in Areas U and P, to further enhance the Ynys Fraser Walkway surroundings.
- The decision by the Committee to work through the winter months [the only break now being in Dec./Jan.], fortified by soup, buns and mulled wine afterwards.
- The HSIS Annual Work Plan, which drives our works programme, reviewed and ratified [except for major development projects] by both DOC and Ngati Rangiwewehi.
- Already mentioned, the construction and installation of many Redwood timber Seats and Tables, placed at strategic spots along the walkways. We now have the Sampson Redwood furniture, plus the Douglas table.
- The Traveller’s Trees area near the Head Spring, continues to grow, up and out. A group of American tourists plus tour guide donated 2 Pohutukawa trees, which they planted during a weekend visit. They were welcomed and given morning tea. This area is in the process of being GPS mapped and labelled for posterity, so that future generations will be able to see their family’s donated tree.
- The installation [not by HSIS] of the aesthetically-pleasing new weir, on the tributary stream which flows under the first footbridge, to protect precious Koaro upstream from the trout below.
- Last but by no means least, better communication and a developing dialogue through Kahuariki, the CEO of Ngati Rangiwewehi, who has graciously stepped up to the plate to speak to us tonight. It is fair to say that your Committee has for quite some time been very concerned about the lack of a regular dialogue with the Iwi, whose understandable priority has been negotiating with the Crown. We have boxed on regardless, while looking forward to the day when we work together as partners in the restoration and development of a place we both love and respect.
We have had but a few disappointments to face during the year.
- Instances of vandalism, especially to the signs in the Reserve, and litter.
- Ongoing diving for loose change at the main spring, which really upsets visitors.
- New members certainly don’t grow on trees. Our investment in a new flyer and distribution locally has produced 2 new members/families, a very bitter pill to swallow, very low return on the investment.
NEVER MIND. The fact is that the Committee and the volunteers who turn up regularly at the Work Days believe that the HSIS is in a good space currently, with some very worthwhile projects underway and soon to be reaping rewards for the visitor experience. It is vitally important that the Reserve is being talked about, positively, that visitors notice a difference. Memories are long and the Society has had a mountain to climb to help restore the Reserve to the international attraction it used to be.
As for the next 12 months, it is paramount that the Society is in a closer working relationship with Ngati Rangiwewehi, who are, once again, becoming the owners and guardians of this beautiful place. The neat thing is that we have, very likely, some common aspirations. If that is the case, the HSIS has little to fear, for only passion and hard work, together, will make the Hamurana Springs world famous again.
Hamurana Springs Incorporated Society,