News and Events

South Head on TV

Te Rau Puriri regional park was featured on Country Calendar in October 2020.  Included in the episode was a South Kaipara Landcare planting day at the park and interviews with some of the Rototoa trapping team.

Click on the link to see the episode.

Roadside Clean Up – 26th September 2020

Thank you to everyone that came and supported the South Head Road clean up!  Over 100 volunteers and 50km of road cleaned.

Special thanks to; Trash Brothers, Burmester Realestate, Rural Delivery team, Waioneke School, Rodney Meat Processors and Farmlands!

South Kaipara Lakes Survey and Dabchick Census Report

The report on the 2019 South Kaipara Lakes survey and Dabchick census has now been completed and released.

This years survey was attended by 38 volunteers who surveyed 25 sites.

The report shows there has been a slight increase in dabchick and the grebe family counted in 2019, which is great news.

To view a copy of the report please click here.

Local winners of the Ballance Farm Environment Award

South Head locals, Ross and Eleanor Webber, won the 2019 Auckland supreme award at the 2019 Ballance Farm Environnment Awards.

They have recently made a short video about their property and story.  You can view it here

Lake Rototoa Survey

Auckland Council is surveying visitors to Lake Rototoa to help them understand the activities people do at the lake, and how best to work together with the community to care for the lake.

Surveyors will be at the lake periodically until March. The survey can also be completed online…/u…/2020/01/lakes_getEmail2.html

Those who do the survey will go in the draw to win a $50 prezzy card! 

If you have questions or would like to know more please get in touch with Belinda (

Nursery Working Bee

On 20th October a team of helpers gave the Landcare Nursery some much needed TLC.

New shade cloth was installed around the upper shade house, weeds were removed, plants sorted and tidied.

A big thanks to those who came along.  It was definitely a case of ‘many hands, make light work’.

Waioneke School Kids Catch Pests

The CatchIT Programme for schools, run by The Forest Bridge Trust, is in full swing at Waioneke School.

Liz Maire, and her assistant Maree Johnston, have been working with the senior students for the past month.  Initially, the students identified some pests that might be lurking around their homes and properties using inky tracking cards.

Next, mouse and rat traps were sent home to be set and monitored.  In addition, families who attended a well-supported evening workshop at the school were supplied with Timms traps and Doc 200s to target bigger pests.

The students are learning practical pest control skills, and gaining knowledge of scientific investigations and statistics.  As the photos show – both enthusiasm and pest control success is high!

Slow for Bittern – New Road Signs for South Head Road

The Australasion Bittern, or Matuku, have just got their very own road signs on South Head Road.

The Bittern is classified as nationally critical with the New Zealand population estimated to be less than 1000 birds They are extremely cryptic and rarely seen.  However they are found in South Head and are occasionally spotted along the roadside.

The natural defence mechanism for a Bittern is to assume a frozen pose with their bill pointing skywards (designed to blend in with 

rushes and reeds).  Unfortunately this ‘frozen pose’ is not very effective against todays predators, such as cats and ferets.  It also doesn’t work so well with traffic on the road.

Therefore South Kaipara Landcare have teamed up with Auckland Council to install a series of signs along South Head road asking motorists to take care and slow down for Bittern.

The signs are located in areas that Bittern are seen near or on the road.  Generally these are in areas where the road crosses through the middle of their habitat.

New technology used at Lake Rototoa

In July NIWA used an automous boat and hydro acoustic pulses to collect data on lake depth, sediment hardness and vegetation cover. This was the first time NIWA have used this method to measure vegetation bio volume. They spent 3-4 days running the boat over a preset grid to collect all the data.

The information will be used to help manage pest fish in the lake.

See the link below for more infomation about the boat and what it was up to

Water Quality Research at Lake Rototoa

Recent monitoring has revealed that water clarity and the health of the aquatic plant community at Lake Rototoa is declining.

There are other dune lakes in Auckland suffering similar reductions in water quality. These lakes all have aquatic pests (fish and plants) in them and it is thought that these pests are one of the main contributing factors to this decline.

Auckland Council is funding a programme to look at ways to manage these aquatic pests, with Lake Rototoa and Tomarata as trial sites. As part of this work, NIWA and University of Waikato are collecting baseline data at the lakes. This includes a fish survey, submerged plant survey, and bathymetric survey of the lakes.  In addition they will be deploying small aerials (the size of an aerosol can) around the lake so that in future we can tag and monitor the movements of some of the pest fish.

All this information will add to our knowledge of the lake and assist us when looking for opportunities to control these pest species.

NIWA will begin reseach at Lake Rototoa from 10th June. Those of you that live by the lake or visit regularly, may see a boat on the lake, divers in the water or NIWA vehicles parked up.

For more information contact Belinda Studholme, Senior Biosecurity Advisor Freshwater, Auckland Council Ph 09 301 0101 email

Planting Day at Te Rau Puriri Regional Park

An enthusiastic bunch of locals came along to Te Rau Puriri Regional Park on Sunday 26th to plant a mix of native plants in a small wetland near the park headquarters.  It was a beautiful clear day and the team managed to put an impressive number of plants in the ground.

The team of rangers also supplied a fantastic lunch of roast lamb sandwhiches.

South Head Flora and Fauna Guide

Field guide cover pageWith the support of Auckland Council, South Kaipara Landcare has produced a local guide to flora and fauna living on the South Head peninsula.

The peninsula is home to a wide range of rare, endangered and important plant and animal species.  This guide provides a brief highlight of these species.

Members of the local community, along with Council staff, have provided detail for the guide.  A special thanks goes to locals who generously provided photos.

Free copies of the guide are available for South Head locals.  To order your copy click here.

Dabchick and Wetland Survey

South Head has some of the richest and most diverse wetlands in the Auckland region. Once a year the South Head community joins with Birds NZ to survey and count the birds inhabiting the wetlands on the peninsula.

You will be put into teams with a knowledgeable expert giving you the opportunity to learn about the birds and help with the survey. We match your walking fitness to a suitable survey area. Children are welcome and must be accompanied by an adult.

9am Thursday 25th April.  Meet at the corner of Shelley Beach and South Head Roads.  See our flyer for more details.

Bittern flies from the Waikato to check out South Head wetlands

An Australasian Bittern, or Matuku, recently tagged at Whangamarino Wetland in the Waikato has been tracked investigating wetlands 115km away in South Head.

The Bittern was caught and tagged as part of this years GPS study led by Dr Emma Williams at DoC.  The study involved  attaching GPS tracking devices to 5 male bitterns across New Zealand to date.  The birds were captured in September/October, so have been tracked for up to 90 days.

The information gathered during the study is used to understand more about the birds and how they can be protected.  Experts estimate the total NZ Bittern population to be less than 1000 nationally.  The threat classification of species was increased from Nationally vulnerable to Nationally Critical in 2016 because of research that showed the species decline is particularly steep (40 % decline in distribution in the last 40 years).

Several of the birds tagged in this years study travelled surprisingly long distances.  One of the Canterbury birds spent two weeks investigating breeding sites at Lake Ellesmere before flying 310km to Wairau Harbour in Blehnheim.

See the map below to find out where the Whangamarino wetland bird spent his October vacation.

Tx 21_Whangamarino_SKaipara

South Kaipara Landcare feature in theValley Voice

South Kaipara Landcare recently featured in the October edition of the Valley Voice.  To read the article click here.


South Kaipara Lakes Survey and Dabchick Census Report

The report on the 2018 South Kaipara Lakes survey and Dabchick census has now been completed and released.

This years survey was attended by a record breaking 46 people, including a group from Waioneke School.

The report shows there has been a slight increase in dabchick and the grebe family counted in 2018, which is great news.

To view a copy of the report please click here.

Roadside Clean Up – 29th September 2018

On Saturday 29th the South Head community came together to clean up South Head Road.  Neighbours joined together to pick up rubbish along nominated sections of the road.  The result was a very full skip bin and three drums of recycling, plus of course a lovely clean and clear roadside.

This year the sun was shining so it was perfect for a walk down the roadside, picking up litter and catching up with neighbours.

Afterwards there was venison on the BBQ and drinks on ice to say thanks to all those who were part of the day.

Te Rau Puriri (Regional Park)

Phil and the team at Te Rau Puriri have recently launched a series of youtube clips about Te Rau Puriri.  There are plenty of local faces featured in the clips, including previous owners the Smeaton’s and McLeod’s who share their memories and stories of the farms.

Cedric and Dianne McLeod – McLeods Farm – a park in the making.

Mavis Smeaton – Harbourview farm to public playground

Phil Evans- Te Rau Puriri Regional Park- An Introduction

Karen & Erin Leighton – From the saddle – Te Rau Puriri Regional Park

Pest Control Workshop – 17th June 2018

The Forest Bridge Trust held a pest control workshop for South Head locals in June.  More than 30 people came along to learn about the impact pests have on our native bush and wildlife.

Topics included everything from possums, through to wasps and rats.  There was a great range of traps on show and many people took up the opportunity to take home a possum or mustelid trap.

Check out the report from George Watson and Marc Bennett below:

Kaka in South Head

Have you seen these birds in your back yard?

Kaka have been seen in various places around South Head over Autumn and Winter.

The kaka is a large forest-dwelling parrot closely related to the kea.  Their amusing antics and raucous voices mean they are normally heard before they are seen.

Much reduced in numbers due to forest clearance and predation by introduced mammals, kaka are most abundant on offshore islands that have no introduced mammals, or at least no stoats. There are probably fewer than 10 000 birds left.

In areas without predator control, most kaka nests do not produce young and many nesting females are killed, particularly by stoats.

Sources :,

Dabchick and Wetland Survey – 25th April

Click here to view the 2018 Survey Report

There was a fantastic turn out of people and great weather for this years Dabchick and Wetland Survey.

2018 Dabchick (Adult) Karaka South One ACop

Dabchick at Karaka South One – photo courtesy of Denise Poyner

The day started with a gathering at the South Head Road/Shelley Beach intersection where people were put into teams and allocated a location to survey.  Each group had a knowledgeable expert giving everyone an opportunity to learn about the birds of the area.

There was also a group of Waioneke School students, who were given the task of surveying birds at Tupare. They did a great job with an extensive list of interesting birds on their list.

After a couple of hours counting birds and enjoying the South Head scenery people re-grouped at the home of Susan Wilson for a BBQ lunch and catch up.

The results of the survey are still being collated.  A report summarising the findings will be published on the SKL website when they’re available.

Bat Hunting – 8th March

A small group of locals braved the bad weather forecast for some Bat hunting at Te Rau Puriri on the 8th March.

Armed with special bat detectors the group walked through the reserve and down to Lake Rototoa.

New Zealand has two species of native bat, the long-tailed bat, and the short-tailed bat. The long-tailed bat has been discovered living in parts of Auckland, including Riverhead and Kaukapakapa.

Unfortunately no bats were heard.  However we did have a lovely walk through the bush, discovering glow worms and visiting ‘weta stump’.

A big thanks to Park Ranger Phil Evans for giving up his Thursday evening and leading us through the Reserve.

Visit to Te Rau Puriri – 20th October


The Landcare committee recently had a first hand look at the three properties which now form South Head’s regional park – Te Rau Puriri.


The 247ha park is a real gem as it offers access to both the harbour and Lake Rototoa. We were able to check out the many great wetlands, bush areas and walks at the park.  We also got to visit the areas that have been fenced and planted – including one by Waioneke School and of course a Landcare planting from a couple of years ago.

Check out our front page for links to youtube clips about the park.

A big thanks to Park Rangers, Phil and Laura for the tour.

 Award for Elon Bycroft


Elon Bycroft, who runs the Landcare Nursery, has won a Community Volunteer’s Award from the Rodney Local Board in recognition of his outstanding work in the community.

Well done Lony we are very proud of you!

Clean Up Day – Saturday 30th September

A big thanks to everyone for your efforts to ‘Clean Up South Head’.  As always, it was a great day to catch up with neighbours, locals and meet those new to the area.

We owe a big debt of gratitude to the team leaders. Some of you have been doing this for many years and we could not do it without you.

We would also like to thank Waioneke School for the use of the School facilities, Farmlands for lending their BBQ, Downers for their help with traffic safety, the Aussie Butcher for providing discounted sausages, Plackemakers for printing the flyer, our BBQ team – Ed, Nicola and Doreen, and of course Helen Frampton for being chief organiser of the day.

If you have any of the hi viz jackets, we would love them back so we can see what we have available for future clean ups.  Team leaders should expect a call through the break – the vests can be put in the mail box for pick up.

Pest Control Workshop – Saturday, 22nd July

Andrew Stein from the Auckland Council talked about traps & pests and fielded a lot of questions!!   Sean O’Brien from Good Nature Traps was extremely interesting telling us about the research and the development side of traps and lures.   We had local experts on hand to answer questions,  demonstrate traps and advise about trapping in your area.

A fantastic lunch of soups and sandwiches along with very yummy cakes and cookies was provided afterwards – many thanks to the committee members who brought a “plate”.

We need residents to sign up for our Trap Loan Program.  If you want to try a different kind of trap or target a particular critter email us at

Committee Meeting – 5th July 2017

The first meeting of the new committee was held at Waioneke School on Wednesday night.  We welcomed 3 new members – Doreen Hogan, Nicola Donald and Ed Donald.  Unfortunately we lost Helen & Greg Smith as Committee Members, but are thankful that they will still be around as Landcare Members.  We have 2 major events coming up the Pest Control Day on 22nd July and the Clean Up Day on the 30th September and we are working hard to ensure these events are a success.

The Committee was very happy to hear that Lony Bycroft who runs the Landcare Nursery in Haranui Street was recognised with an award for his tireless work as a Volunteer for Landcare and South Head.  Well done Lony we certainly appreciate all the good work you do on Landcare’s behalf as well as the leadership and dignity you bring to our events over the year!

AGM – 10th June 2017

The AGM was held at the South Head Community Hall.  We try to keep the official side of the meeting short and to the point to give us more time with the speaker.  Ben Paris, or “The Batman” as he is commonly known, spoke about his work and his passion, bats.  It was very interesting as he covered all kinds of bats found all over the world then concentrated on our two bats and what makes them so unique.  We have so many unique animals in New Zealand that need to be recognized and protected.


Ben Paris

After Ben’s talk we had lunch.  As a special treat each year several members of the committee make soup and/or cakes and biscuits for the attendees enjoyment and this year the soups were superb.  Many thanks to Helen Smith, Helen Frampton, Jorg Schulze, John Ayers and Anne Griffiths for their contributions.

Dab Chick Count – 25th April 2017

2017 SURVEY REPORT – Dabchick_survey_form 2017.numbers

A large group of volunteers turned up to help with this valuable annual count.  It was a beautiful autumn day and no one wanted to leave.  Thank you to Sue Wilson who generously opens her home each year for us to gather and have lunch and to Denise Poyner who organised the day.

Dabchick border

NURSERY WORKING BEE – Saturday, 18th March 2017

The working bee was very successful and we are so grateful to the kind folk who gave us so much of their time. Huge thanks go to Nick at Placemakers, Helensville for the materials supplied that meant the planting house was mostly rebuilt – it will handle any weather now!  We need the residents off South Head to support the nursery by coming and buying plants.  There is a price list on the Landcare Nursery page.