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Long-term dedication from two volunteers

2 December 2019

By Neil Smith 

Back in 2007 I started volunteering on the maunga by carrying out the monthly close-up inspections of the part of the perimeter fence on the boundary of the Andree-Wiltens farm. Soon after that I joined Rod’s gofer team and have “fond” memories of working in the gorsenet area which at that time was over-run with blackberry. I spent many days surveying the waterline on Te Akaterere and at other times helped place the bench seats beside the tracks in the Southern Enclosure. Then there were the bags of ready-mixed concrete that had to be manhandled into the bush for constructing the special enclosure for Sirocco’s first visit. The bush environment, the social engagement and the varied yet fulfilling tasks have provided lasting memories. 

Old age catches up with all of us though. I now confine myself to my garage refurbishing rat traps and filling peanut butter cartridges as this is work that paid staff do not have time to look after. Over the last twelve months I have used 84 kg of peanut putter to fill 550 cartridges and also kept busy rust-proofing and re-painting over 1200 traps - mundane work but the time passes quickly as I listen to the Radio NZ Concert programme.

No matter what varied tasks we volunteers undertake, it is vital support for the restoration and preservation of the maunga.