Eskdale Reserve restoration

Eskdale Reserve Network is our tūrangawaewae. It is where local volunteers initiated conservation work in 1998 that led to the establishment of Kaipātiki Project, and we continue to focus our regeneration activities here. Our native plant nursery is nestled at the base of the reserves alongside our purpose-built EcoHub, where we facilitate group volunteering in the reserves each week, host community learning and events, and carry out indicator species surveying and stream monitoring programmes.

Eskdale Reserve contains good examples of riparian forest and kauri broadleaved-podocarp associations. It also provides a riparian buffer to Eskdale stream and links with Oruamo stream. Natural areas are extremely vulnerable to weed invasion, pest impacts, fragmentation, wind exposure, and physical isolation from similar areas.

Significance of the reserve

Eskdale Reserve is classified as a ‘High Value’ site and a Significant Ecological Area under the Auckland Council Unitary Plan.

The initial inspiration and continued focus for Kaipātiki Project’s restoration work lies in the Eskdale Reserve Network. These reserves combined (approx. 74h) are one of the most unique urban forest eco systems and the largest urban forest in Tāmaki Makaurau ecological region. Forming part of the North-West Wildlink, they provide large areas of continuous urban native vegetation. The network encompasses depleted Kauri podsols on the ridgeline through broadleaf/podocarp forest, down to saltwater edge plants, including one of the few remaining swamps in Auckland containing Swamp Maire (Myrtle family) a rarity and treasured species threatened by Myrtle Rust.

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Our work

The ongoing work by volunteers and community contributes to rare sightings of freshwater mussels and a giant kōkopu (only the second sighting in living memory in Auckland).

The experienced Kaipātiki Project Restoration team facilitates volunteer activities year-round in the reserve that contribute to Predator Free 2050, the reduction of invasive weed species and improving native ecosystems. We partner with Māori to understand how matauranga Māori can improve environmental outcomes for the area and incorporate this into our work. We adopt a chemical-free approach to all our restoration activities.

We run weekly volunteer sessions with regular volunteers led by expert ecologists. Dedicated to preserving this special reserve and making a positive impact on the environment, we invite new volunteers to join us. 

Our adjacent native plant nursery supports our restoration activities by growing plants from seeds collected in the reserve and then planting in the reserve to increase native biodiversity and provide forest candy for birds and bugs.

Our Stream Care programme supports our restoration goals by providing regular freshwater monitoring of the stream flowing through the reserve.

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Titiwai - Glowworm colony restoration

To increase our understanding of present populations of Titiwai (Glowworms) in the Eskdale and Witheford Reserve Network, we are undertaking the initial baseline surveys and conducting regular ongoing monitoring of specific populations once identified. This is to establish opportunities whereby habitat restoration/ protection can be undertaken by volunteers to enhance the survival of identified populations or create circumstances whereby new colonies can become established in previously degraded or completely new sites. 

Titiwai (NZ Glowworms - Arachnocampa luminosa) are well known in damp dense bush throughout the Auckland region, however there is little knowledge about the dynamics of specific populations and how they are impacted by habitat change, predators and drought. Associated with sheltered, shady stream banks, several established populations in the Eskdale Reserve have been severely disrupted by extensive track modification and recent floods. This presents us with a timely opportunity to study not only healthy populations in the Eskdale Reserve Network but also establish ongoing monitoring of disrupted sites to understand how they recover naturally, and how we might accelerate this process by habitat restoration or through seeding sites via translocation of larvae from nearby sites.

Titiwai have a fundamental place in Māori cosmogeny 'Te maramatanga namunamu ki taiao' —This was the dim, feeble glimmer emanating from Moko-huruhuru, or Hine-huruhuru, the glow-worm. This was the very first phase of light known. 

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