June 2024

Saturday of Kings Birthday weekend was very windy and wet, as forecast – but Sunday 2 June was a stunning still, sunny and splendid day for removing wilding pines…

The volunteer wilding pine cutters are off to search and destroy as many wildings as possible

And that is what 27 hard working volunteers did in the Ohau Downs Station QEII covenant area along Lake Ohau Road. Many a comment was made “every time I drive past, I just want to get in there and cut those wildings – so now is my chance!

It was special to be able to experience the wonderful dry-land ecosystems in the covenant area – lots of tauhinu / cottonwood (Ozothamnus leptophyllus) and at least three carmichaelia species (native broom) including the “at risk-declining” coral broom (Carmichaelia crassicaulis subsp. crassicaulis).

So, what is a “pullerbear”? They are a Canadian invention for using leverage to remove invasive plants, including the plant’s roots…three pullerbears were imported from Canada and donated to the Trust, by an avid Pullerbear aficionado – who can clear an area of wildings with a pullerbear in no time at all! There are now at least two more avid pullerbear converts, after they used them on the wildings. They are a great tool for wilding tree removal.

After three hours of solid work, people came back chuffed to have removed so many wilding pines and ready for some lunch. Thank you so much to everyone who came along to remove the wilding pines – a very successful mornings work!

May 2024

Wilding pine removal session now on Sunday 2 June, starting at 10am

Our wilding session will now be on Sunday 2 June as the forecast for Saturday 1 June is for rain!

All the details below still apply – just come a day later!

We’re not planting on Saturday 1 June – we’re removing wilding pines

With all the plants planted in Avoca Forest now, our final planting session has become a morning of removing wilding pines.

Wilding pine removal was what the Trust first did at its beginning almost 20 years ago – and it is great to have the opportunity to do this in the work in the Ohau Downs Station QEII covenant area along Lake Ohau Road. The wilding pines here are very prominent when you drive into Lake Ōhau and wilding control work is being undertaken in the covenant. We’ve got the opportunity to help protect this special area.

We’ll start at 10am and finish up around 1pm. We have loppers, saws and pullerbears (you’ll have to come along to learn what a “pullerbear” is – they are magic!). You’ll need to bring a drink and lunch – we’ll stay on site for lunch and hot drink together after the session – weather dependent. Please wear sturdy shoes and bring some gloves (we have gloves available too) – be prepared for any weather conditions.

The weather forecast is not looking good for Saturday – heavy rain expected, with better weather forecast for Sunday 2 June. We’ll make a call about whether we have the wilding pine removal on Saturday or Sunday on Thursday 30 May and notify our decision on this webpage and on our Facebook page.

We’ll meet at the QEII covenant signs on Lake Ohau Road near Swan Lagoon. Parking will be along and off the road here – please be careful parking and making your way across the road to the work session site. Our Ōhau Conservation Trust signs will be out to show where we will be working.

Map showing location of the wilding tree removal work session

A planting for Lake Ōhau heroes

Our planting and special event on 12 May was hugely successful – on so many accounts! It was a glorious still Lake Ōhau day, we had over 60 volunteer planters come along, we had special FENZ guests and local firefighters planting plants and you could feel the positive vibe and the focus on doing something for the future.

By the time we stopped for lunch 920 plants had been planted – all the plants we had left to be planted during our autumn planting sessions!

Our special FENZ guests were some of our local Ōmārama and Twizel firefighter, Mike Grant and Graeme Still. The community has a very strong bond with Graeme through his work as Incident Controller during the wildfire and his contact with the community afterwards. Mike Grant, Te Kei Region Manager, represented the FENZ region that has supported the community to learn from the wildfire event, put new systems in place to reduce wildfire risk and improve emergency communication. Our local firefighters do this work by choice, for which we are extremely grateful!

People turned out from all over to help us plant and to be part of this special event. It is not just about getting plants planted, it is the infectious enthusiasm and good will from those that come along, that made the day. We so much appreciate the enormous contribution these people make to the Avoca Forest project and our community.

We are very grateful for everyone who is supporting this special event and planting in Avoca Forest:

  • Te Uru Rākau – New Zealand Forest Service for the grant from the Matariki Tu Rākau fund
    which is part of the One Billion Trees Programme – and Te Kete Tipuranga o Huirapa Ltd /
    Arowhenua Native Nursery and the DOC Motukarara Conservation Nursery for this year
    supplying the plants we purchased with the grant
  • Meridian Community Fund for funds for Anne Steven to prepare the Avoca Forest planting
    and access plan
  • DOC for giving approval to plant the Avoca native forest
  • Waitaki DC and Ahuriri Community Board for ongoing support for recovery and restoration
  • a Fairlie farmer and Ian Wynn who donated the wood and the wood milling for the very large
    macrocarpa posts the plaques are mounted on
  • Stu Paterson of Jollie Property Services and Troy, his crew for installing the plaques and
    general helpfulness in maintaining the Avoca Forest area
  • Paul Jamieson for donating his building expertise to cut, shape and install the plaque posts
  • Rachel and Rodney McLellan for donating the wonderful seat, allowing us to create a place
    for rest and reflection
  • Greg and Susan Roberts from the Mackenzie Four Square who donated the barbecue food.
    They want to help with the restoration at Lake Ōhau
  • Deb, Shell, Charlie and Jules for organising, making and cooking food for lunch
  • Waitaki Boys High School for the use of Avoca House for making and serving lunch
  • All the volunteers who came along to plant the plants!

Special planting to honour firefighters (and mothers) on Sunday 12 May

Our special event to honour the firefighters who fought the Lake Ōhau wildfire in October 2020 is being held on Sunday 12 May. We’re also honouring mothers, since it is Mothers Day!

Mike Grant, the FENZ Regional Manager for the Te Kei Region (Otago & Southland) is attending to unveil two plaques that permanently record our appreciation of these firefighters. One plaque explains about the wildfire and the firefighters and the other plaque lists the 34 fire brigades who attended.

There will be other FENZ staff and firefighters attending as well. Representatives from DOC and Waitaki District Council will also be there.

We would love to have a good turn out to this planting session, as we thank those that came Lake Ōhau to protect our community and environment.

The planting session starts at 10am – meet at 80 Ohau Drive in the Village – as shown on the map below – the orange dot is on the section where we meet – there will be some signs out to show you where to come. Just park on the side of the Ohau Drive, near number 80.

Wear some sturdy shoes, bring a spade and gardening gloves if you have them, a drink and be prepared for hot or cold weather. We do have some planting gear you can use.

We will finish the planting session with a barbecue lunch and a cup of tea around 1pm at Avoca House.

Our thanks to Greg and Susan Roberts from the Mackenzie Four Square who are donating the barbecue food. They are keen to support the restoration at Lake Ōhau and have supplied barbecue food for our planting sessions for two years now.

27 April 2024 planting session

There was a cold wind when we started planting at our first Avoca Forest planting session for autumn 2024, but after awhile, the jackets were off, shirt sleeves rolled up and 255 plants were planted by 16 volunteers! Amazing work by our wonderful volunteers – thank you so much for coming along to continue our work to establish a new native forest.

After all the planting work, everyone enjoyed a barbecue sausage for lunch. Thanks to Four Square Twizel for supplying the barbecue food and Deb for being the barbecue cook.

Thanking the Freemasons

On Sunday 21 April 2024, Freemasons from South Canterbury and Otago visited Avoca Forest to see the work done with the donation the lodges and the National Freemason’s charity gave to the Trust in August 2021…see the article below with a photo of the “huge” cheque – both in size and amount!

Members of the Lake Ōhau community gathered to show their appreciation of this very generous support for the community after the October 2020 wildfire. The walking tracks and platform seat are valued assets by the community and receive use from locals and visitors alike. It has made access for the planting session possible and provided a safe area for all ages to enjoy.

The Trust is extremely grateful for this donation from the Freemasons as it has significantly helped us realise our ambitious plan to create an almost 3 hectare new native forest for current and future generations. The new native forest will also help protect the water quality in our special wee Lake Middleton.

The plaque on the platform seat

April 2024

Our first planting session for this autumn is on this coming Saturday 27 April. We’ve had some rain so the soil is now moist, we’ve got the plants, we’ve marked out where they are to be planted and we’ve dug some holes with our trusty earth auger…

Plants ready for our 2024 planting sessions

So, we’re all set for planting to start on Saturday. We meet at 80 Ohau Drive – as shown on the map below – the orange dot is on the section where we meet – there will be some signs out to show you where to come. Just park on the side of the Ohau Drive, near number 80.

We start planting at 10am and finish with a barbecue sausage around 1pm – come for as long as suits. Thank you to Twizel Four Square for supporting us by supplying the sausages for the barbecue this Saturday.

Wear some sturdy shoes, bring a spade and gardening gloves if you have them, bring some extra food and a drink and be prepared for hot or cold weather. We do have some planting gear you can use.

Looking forward to a special day to start planting our next area in Avoca Forest – creating a new native forest, for now and into the future…

January 2024

It’s a hot dry summer at Lake Ōhau…and we’ve started to plan for this autumn’s planting days. We hope by the end of April, we’ve had some rain and all will be good for planting in Avoca Forest.

Our planting days are on:

  • Saturday 27 April 2024 (ANZAC weekend)
  • Sunday 12 May 2024
  • Sunday 26 May 2024
  • Saturday 1 June 2024 (Kings Birthday weekend)

Further details will be posted here, closer to planting time. Our planting sessions start at 10am and we aim to finish by 3pm. There will be a barbecue sausage for lunch and a great time working with others planting.

This year is our last year of a funding grant to acknowledge the volunteer firefighters who attended the October 2020 wildfire at Lake Ōhau (we’re applying for new funding to continue with the planting of Avoca Forest).

Come and help restore our Avoca Forest area by planting native plants.

October 2023

Our Avoca Forest project got a huge boost on 27 & 28 October with 540m of new walking tracks formed.

The Waiareka Valley and Tekapo Lions Clubs and the Lake Ōhau Community Hub Charitable Trust worked with the Trust to finish the walking tracks in Avoca Forest. There is now 1140m of walking tracks to be used by the local community and visitors to Lake Ōhau.

These tracks are a permanent recreational asset that has opened up a previously inaccessible area between the Lake Ōhau Village and Lake Middleton. This area provides an opportunity to walk in native forest and to sit and enjoy the views.

After making great progress with gravelling the tracks on Friday, Saturday’s task was to complete a couple of tracks on the Lake Middleton side of Avoca Forest.

It’s hard work moving around gravel and spreading it on the tracks. The motorised wheelbarrows were great but using rakes and shovels was still required. By early afternoon all but 30m of track had been gravelled – we’d run out of gravel.

What an amazing two days of work!

There is now a plaque from the Lions on a large rock by the new tracks to recognise the loss caused by the wildfire, acknowledge FENZ and Waitaki District Council’s wildfire emergency planning with the community, and mark the Lions Clubs support for our community.

The motorised wheelbarrow was a huge help moving the gravel around.

The two days of hard work doesn’t just happen – there is a lot to organise…

Our thanks to:

  • the twenty Lions Club members who gave their time, effort and support to the community by contributing to our special restoration project
    • Murray Linwood for organisation
    • John and Amy for providing great food during the day
  • the Lake Ōhau Community Hub Charitable Trust who planned and coordinated the working bee
  • Road Metals who donated the gravel for the tracks
  • Hireworx who significantly discounted the hire of the motorised wheelbarrows and compactors – making moving around the gravel so much easier
  • Jollie Property Services – Stu Paterson who cut the tracks, used his equipment to support the track gravelling and generally just helped out
  • House owners in the Village who donated accommodation to the Lions Club members

June 2023

It was a frosty and foggy start to the day on Sunday 11 June, when 10 keen Rotarian helpers travelling through the hoar frost from down the Valley to help us plant 375 plants they had donated.

The planting by the Conservation Trust, in conjunction with the Lake Ōhau Community Hub Charitable Trust was made possible by the generous donation of plants and time and effort from Ōamaru Rotary.

With community volunteers as well, all the plants were in the ground by 2.30pm, when the sun had made an appearance as well! A hot sausage for lunch was enjoyed by everyone.

Thanks to everyone who came along – as they have done all autumn, to help us get plants in the ground in our Avoca Forest restoration project….what a wonderfully successful year – we so much appreciate all the support we receive.

May 2023

One last planting session – 11 June 2023

On Sunday 11 June 2023, we’re holding one last planting session along with the Rotary Club of Ōamaru and the Lake Ōhau Community Hub Charitable Trust to enhance the area where you enter Avoca Forest from the Village reserves walkway.

We’ve got around 300 plants donated by the Rotary Club of Ōamaru to plant. The Rotary Club of Ōamaru also gave a donation to the Lake Ōhau Community Hub Charitable Trust for the plant vouchers given to property owners who lost a house in the Oct 2020 wildfire. We’re very grateful for the Rotary Club’s support for the community.

Planting will start at 10.30am and we’ll finish with lunch at around 1pm – there is a BBQ sausage for everyone thanks to sponsorship from Mackenzie Four Square – please also bring other lunch/snack food and a hot/cold drink.

We’ll meet at the walkway into Avoca Forest off Ohau Drive – there will be signs out to direct you. Please park on the street.

Bring a spade/shovel if you have one and your gardening gloves.

Be prepared for all weathers – warm clothes and a sun hat! Wear sturdy shoes.

Please contact the Trust with any queries. If a planting session is cancelled because of weather – it will be posted on this website and the Trust’s Facebook page.

All our 2023 plants in the ground at Avoca Forest

We had a wonderful planting day on Sunday 7 May, with the support of locals, visitors, school and university students. Avoca Forest had 1083 new trees planted – that makes a total for the year of 1836 plants in the ground!

Our last planting day on 21 May is now cancelled as we have no more plants to plant this year.

We are very grateful to the Lake Ōhau community volunteers who continue to be available for planting in Avoca Forest – some travelling especially to be available to help – thank you. Other friends and visitors also pitched in, which is much appreciated.

Planting on 7 May

What a boost to have Waitaki Girls High and Waitaki Boys High Schools Enviroschools groups join us to help with the planting. We hope they will continue to visit and watch the Avoca Forest grow and mature.

And, a very special thank you to the Student Volunteer Army students from Canterbury University who travelled to Twizel for the weekend and came to help us plant at Avoca Forest and move our new predator traps into place along trap lines in the hills and gullies to the west of the Village.

Thank you to all our planting volunteers

On Saturday 6 May, 20 SVA students worked to get ready for the planting day on Sunday. They also planted trees in the afternoon. On Sunday all 87 SVA students spent the morning planting in Avoca Forest. With the other 40 volunteers, all the plants were planted by lunch time. A BBQ lunch was enjoyed by all at Avoca House. Thank you to the Mackenzie Four Square who donated food for the BBQ.

SVA students at Lake Middleton

New predator traps moved to trap lines

A group of 29 SVA students spent Saturday 6 May moving our new predator traps to our existing possum trap lines. We now have predator traps in the beech forest and along tracks to catch possums, stoats, ferrets, weasels, rats and hedgehogs. 54 new traps were put in place and we will work now to get them set up and activated.

The SVA trap moving crew all loaded up at Sawyers Creek

Traps were placed along the A2O cycle trail, and in the beech filled gullies along Parsons, Sawyers and Freehold creeks. The Freehold creek traps extend above the bushline into the sub alpine – that is a long way to carry heavy traps!

We very much appreciate the willing work by the students to move the traps – something we struggled to achieve with our relatively small (but very keen) pool of trapping volunteers. Thanks to ECan and DOC who supported this mahi with staff, equipment and logistics.

Avoca Forest planting on Sunday 7 May

Our second planting day for 2023 is being held on Sunday 7 May. We’re keen to get in as many plants as we can, while the weather is milder – so they get settled in before winter hits!

We’ve got some young people coming to help plant – from the Waitaki Girls High and Waitaki Boys High Enviroschool groups, plus some Canterbury Uni students – just perfect, as the forest is for the future generations!

Remember, this planting is to acknowledge and thank the firefighters who fought the October 2020 wildfire – as the firefighters know…

mā tini mā mano ka rapa te whai

many hands make light work – unity is strength

Come and spend some time at Lake Ōhau on Sunday 7 May – we’d really appreciate it.

Planting will be between 10am and around 3.30pm, with a break for lunch – there is a BBQ sausage for everyone thanks to sponsorship from Mackenzie Four Square – please also bring other lunch/snack food and a hot/cold drink.

Come along when it suits and stay as long as it suits

Where: Meet at 80 Ohau Drive, in the Village (there will be signs out to show you where to come)

What: Bring a spade/shovel if you have one and your gardening gloves

Be prepared for all weathers – warm clothes and a sun hat! Wear sturdy shoes

Please contact the Trust with any queries. If a planting session is cancelled because of weather – it will be posted on this website and the Trust’s Facebook page.

April 2023

753 plants planted on Easter Sunday

What a special day we had on Sunday 9 April – locals from the community, campers from Lake Middleton and others who came to Lake Ōhau especially for the day – all pitched in to get 753 plants in the ground! Thank you.

The dog and human volunteers at the 9 April planting day

“Dad, I haven’t told you this yet, but we’re coming back next year to see how big the trees I planted today have grown.”

a young volunteer after spending the day planting at Avoca Forest on Sunday 9 April 2023

We had 53 volunteers and 7 dogs at the planting day – and everyone worked together to plant and get the weed mat (Terra Lana mulch mat) and plant protectors (EmGuards) in place for each plant. We’ve had some rain since the planting day and the plants are all looking wonderful.

This was a great way to start establishing the area in Avoca Forest being planted to acknowledge and thank the firefighters who fought the 2020 wildfire at Lake Ōhau.

Planting on Easter Sunday 9 April

We’re looking forward to our first planting day coming up at Easter. Please come along and help us plant about 600 plants in our firefighter area within Avoca Forest. Details are below in the March post.

We’ve very pleased to have received sponsorship from the Mackenzie and Twizel Four Square stores for a barbecue sausage for volunteers at lunch time – please also bring other lunch/snack food and a hot/cold drink.

Trust’s Annual and Financial Reports

Our Performance Report to 30 September 2022 has recently been lodged with Charities Services. Our Annual Report and our Statement of Financial Position is also available. We will have information available about the Trust at our Easter planting day – if you have any questions, suggestions or feedback, we’d be happy to discuss these with you on that day (we are no longer holding an AGM).

March 2023

Come planting with us this autumn

You are invited to help plant a very special part of Avoca Forest at Lake Ōhau

Ōhau Conservation Trust is establishing a native forest on the Lake Middleton plantation forest destroyed in the 2020 wildfire.

This autumn and next, we are planting an area in Avoca Forest to acknowledge and thank the firefighters who came to fight the Lake Ōhau wildfire. The community is forever thankful for the selfless service given to save people and properties.

The 34 brigades who attended the wildfire will be listed on a plaque, to acknowledge their work for this community. A seat has been donated to be placed in this part of the forest, to be a place of reflection and remembrance.

When: Planting sessions are on 9 April (Easter Sunday), 7 May and 21 May

Planting will be between 10am and around 3.30pm, with a break for lunch

Come along when it suits and stay as long as it suits

Where: Meet at 80 Ohau Drive, in the Village (there will be signs out to show you where to come)

What: Bring a spade/shovel if you have one and your gardening gloves

Be prepared for all weathers – warm clothes and a sun hat! Wear sturdy shoes

Remember to bring some lunch and a hot/cold drink

Please contact the Trust with any queries. If a planting session is cancelled because of weather – it will be posted on this website and the Trust’s Facebook page.

We are very grateful for a grant to fund this planting from the Matariki Tu Rākau Fund, administered by Te Uru Rākau — New Zealand Forest Service, part of Ministry for Primary Industries – Manatū Ahu Matua.

December 2022

Meri Kirihimete me te Hape Nū Ia | Merry Christmas and happy new year

We wish you all the best for the summer holidays. Thank you to everyone who has helped the Trust this year in our conservation activities at Lake Ōhau.

The mistletoe / pikirangi flowering at Lake Ōhau is extraordinary this year – there are flowers all through the beech forests and it is still flowering in mid December! Still worth coming to have a look – one the best places to see mistletoe in Aotearoa / New Zealand.

Looking ahead to 2023 conservation activities

We’ve got some special planting days next year – on 9 April, 7 May & 21 May – to plant an area as a place of reflection and remembrance for the 34 brigades who attended the October 2020 wildfire at Lake Ōhau. A plaque to acknowledge and thank the brigades will be installed within the area to be planted as part of the Avoca Forest restoration project – in an area between the Village and Lake Middleton.

The Trust is very pleased to have received a $41,000.00 grant from the Matariki Tu Rākau fund administered by Te Uru Rākau New Zealand Forest Service to purchase plants and planting materials for these planting sessions in 2023 and for further planting in 2024.

We’d love people to come and help plant the around 2000 plants. More details about the planting days will be posted here and in local newsletters closer to the planting days next year.

June 2022

2022 planting finale

There was a heavy frost on Sunday 5 June and the sun was trapped above thick cloud – it was a cold morning! This didn’t stop 21 volunteers turning up at 10am and in the next 2 hours, planting the remaining 272 plants at Avoca Forest! There will now be a lovely snow tussock bank as the 100 small tussocks grow in the next few years. Lovely to have children helping to plant – they will see the forest plants mature over the years.

Thank you so much to our 88 volunteers who did the planting in autumn 2022 – 176 hours of voluntary time was donated to the Trust. It is fantastic to have started the Avoca Forest planting, including the 400 plants the Trust received from Trees that Count. In total, over 6 planting sessions, 938 plants are now in the ground.

Final autumn 2022 planting at Avoca Forest – come & help us get the job done!

On Sunday of Queens Birthday weekend – 5 June – the final planting session of this autumn will get the last 171 plants in the ground in Avoca Forest. The plants already planted are looking great and loving the recent rain.

Come along at 10am and give us a hand – wear warm clothes and sturdy footwear – no experienced needed, just a smile and a willingness to help restore this area to a native forest!

Meet us on site – turn left into Ohau Drive as you come up the hill into the Village, and then use the walkway between 94 and 96 Ohau Drive (Conservation Trust sign will be on the walkway) to access the Lake Middleton Recreation Reserve. Turn right off the walkway and follow a dirt track up over a slight rise and you’ll see the planting site to your left.

May 2022

238 more plants in Avoca Forest

What a great morning planting we had on 22 May. 12 volunteers planted the 238 plants to complete our third planting session for Avoca Forest. This time we planted swamp flax, koromiko and manuka along the wetland area and shrubland plants on the dry areas. What a feast these will provide for the birds in the future!

Thank you very much to our fantastic volunteers who worked hard to get all the plants in the ground.

Volunteer planters on 22 May 2022

Planting scheme set out with coloured flagging tape

Planting area panorama – overlooking Lake Middleton

22 May – come and help plant some more of Avoca Forest

The weather forecast for Sunday 22 May is looking good – after a few rough weather days on Thursday and Friday! We’ve got our third planting session for our Avoca Forest project starting at 10am on Sunday, we’d love volunteers to come along to help. Have warm clothes and sturdy footwear – it will be a bit cooler.

Planting is not difficult as the holes are already dug…there are jobs for all ages and abilities – such as assembling plant protectors (can be done sitting down!) and distributing plants and planting materials such as weed mats, fertiliser tabs and lime to those planting.

Meet us on site – turn left into Ohau Drive as you come up the hill into the Village, and then use the walkway between 94 and 96 Ohau Drive (Conservation Trust sign will be on the walkway) to access the Lake Middleton Recreation Reserve. Turn right off the walkway and follow a dirt track up over a slight rise and you’ll see the planting site to your left.

9 May – planting session

With the weather clearing on Monday, after a rainy Sunday, nine keen volunteers worked for 2 hours and got 90 plants planted. Along with the 20 plants our four fabulous volunteers from ROVE – planted on Friday, we have more than half of our second planting session plants in the ground. We’ll plant the rest at our next planting session on 22 May.

Thank you to our volunteer planters – we are very grateful for you donating your time and effort to our Avoca Forest project. A special thank you to the ROVE crew – who are cycling the length of Aotearoa / New Zealand and volunteering for environmental and sustainability groups along the way. Laura, Claire, Tom and Tim spent four hours on Thursday and Friday setting out the plant locations and using our wonderful Stihl earth auger to dig all the 190 holes for the plants – awesome!

8 May – planting session postponed

Robust weather at Lake Ōhau this morning – we’re on the edge of the Nor’ West storm along the main divide. We wont be planting at 10am – it’s too miserable to be out in the weather.

For the locals – we’ll reassess at 1pm – it might have cleared a bit! – and we’ll send around an email to let you know if we’ll plant this afternoon.

We’ll get some planting done during the week and the rest planted at our next planting session on 22 May.

Avoca Forest planting underway

The first planting of the Avoca Forest restoration project happened on Sunday 24 April 2022, when 17 enthusiastic volunteers planted 133 plants. It is wonderful to see native plants back in this area, which is currently a weed filled wasteland with burnt stumps. The soil was damp and with a good application of lime, the strong plants will flourish.

We look forward to planting in Avoca Forest again on Sunday 8 & 22 May and 5 June. Come and join us – and be part of creating a new native forest at Lake Ōhau.

The volunteers who started the planting of Avoca Forest

April 2022

ANZAC Sunday planting session – 10am on 24 April 2022

Our first planting session to start to create the new Avoca Forest is being held on Sunday of ANZAC weekend. We’ll meet at 10am at the walkway from the Village to the Lake Middleton Recreation Reserve – the walkway is between 94 and 96 Ohau Drive (turn left into Ohau Drive as you come up the hill into the Village).

We’ve got 133 plants to be planted in our first planting location in the south western part of Avoca Forest, around the “wetland planting” area shown on the plan below. We’ll continue to plant here in our May and June planting sessions.

On Easter Sunday we had 25 volunteers plant 185 plants in a couple of hours. Thank you to the volunteers who came from near and far – and spent a morning restoring and enhancing our biodiversity. We planted 38 kowhai on the shore of Lake Ōhau and the other plants at the Village entrance near the Trust’s gear container. In the future, these plantings will form a grove of kowhai – a spectacular welcome to our community and most importantly, a wonderful food source for our local bellbird/korimako.

Avoca Forest restoration authorised

The Trust is very pleased to have recently received authorisation from DOC to restore the natural environment and enhance access to an area within the Lake Middleton Recreation Reserve.

This conservation project will restore this area by re-establishing ecosystems that would have existed before they were modified and lost by human activities. The Avoca Forest is to be planted with the rich and varied plants that thrive in this inland dry environment and supply habitat and food for a wide variety of special birds, lizards and insects, perfectly adapted to living here. Walking tracks and places to sit and enjoy the forest and views will also be developed.

The Trust looks forward to people and groups helping to plant the area. People will also be able to enjoy Avoca Forest as it is planted and developed over the years – a special project for now and into the future, and for the environment and people.

The Trust is excited to get this ecological restoration project underway, with planting to start at ANZAC weekend 2022 and continue with 3 more planting sessions on 8 and 22 May and 5 June (Queens Birthday weekend) – see more information about planting sessions below.

Planting and walking access plan for Avoca Forest in the Lake Middleton recreation reserve.

Easter planting session – 17 April starting at 10am

Easter is nearly here, so is the start of autumn planting at Lake Ōhau. Our first planting session is on Easter Sunday – 17 April 2022. We’ll start at 10am and work through until we have all the plants in the ground, hopefully in a couple of hours.

We’ve got 72 kowhai to plant in Aubrey reserve and near the entry to the Village (plus a few other plants).

Please meet at the southern end of Aubrey reserve – across Lake Ohau road from the terrace where the Village sits at the top – there are beech trees in the reserve, along the lake. Please bring a spade/shovel and wear sturdy shoes. Gloves and other planting materials will be supplied.

March 2022

Planting sessions autumn 2022

We get delivery of 1000 ecologically sourced plants supplied by Matai Nurseries in Waimate for our autumn planting sessions soon. We’d love volunteers to come and help us with the planting.

We’re arranging planting sessions for the following Sundays during autumn – more details for each session will be circulated to supporters and be available here closer to the days:

  • 17 April – Easter Sunday – kowhai planting along Lake Ōhau
  • 24 April – ANZAC weekend – Avoca Forest planting (a new native forest area in Lake Middleton recreation reserve)
  • 8 May – Avoca Forest planting
  • 22 May – Avoca Forest planting
  • 5 June – Queens Birthday weekend – Avoca Forest planting (if needed)

Kowhai plant thriving in its Emguard protector

Papers from AGM

Here are the papers presented at the AGM and the unconfirmed minutes of the meeting held on 22 January 2022:

Annual Report

Financial Report

Unconfirmed Minutes

Gentian flowers

January 2022

AGM on Saturday 22 January 2022

The Trust’s AGM is being held at 10am on Saturday 22 January 2022. We will meet at the Trust’s gear container, located near the junction of Lake Ōhau Road and the Ōhau Drive entrance to the Village. If the day is wet/windy, we will meet at 20 Ōhau Drive. We will review the Trust’s 2020/21 financial year at the meeting. We will also discuss the proposed Avoca Native Forest planting and walking access plan and visit the site with anyone that is interested.

Proposed Avoca Native Forest

The Ohau Conservation Trust is proposing to establish a new native forest on the site of a douglas fir plantation burnt in the Oct 2020 wildfire and then logged. The Avoca Native Forest (named for the old sheep station here) will provide the community with a new attractive area immediately adjacent to the Village. It will be a long lasting natural asset for current and future generations, and be part of other projects enhancing Lake Middleton’s catchment.

It will provide habitat and food for birds, lizards and insects, including the significant number of bellbird/korimako living around the Village. Replanting this bare ground within Lake Middleton’s catchment will help to safeguard the lake’s water quality.

Recreational activities will be able to be undertaken here, with walking tracks and seating areas to be established within the forest. It is proposed that the forest also contain the community hub complex, including the plant nursery.

The new forest will be a place for residents, visitors and school pupils (staying at Avoca House outdoor education accommodation) to participate in planting and learn about nature and native plants. It will demonstrate how nature can be restored and be a tangible expression of how nature and people can heal after traumatic events.

The Lake Ōhau Community Hub Charitable Trust is proposing to build and operate a community hub complex, including a plant nursery and community spaces, for the Lake Ōhau community in the Lake Middleton Recreation Reserve. The hub will provide a place for social interaction as well as producing native plants. The plants will be provided to property owners, Village reserves and the surrounding environment to restore areas destroyed by the October 2020 wildfire. The hub will provide indoor and outdoor spaces for passive and active recreation, development of new skills and knowledge and well-being for those that have suffered from the trauma of the fire and its aftermath.

This proposal started with an offer from the Lions District 202J to undertake a project at Lake Ōhau that would benefit the community after the wildfire and into the future.

A draft planting and walking access plan for the forest has been prepared. If you have any feedback about the forest and community hub proposals, please send it to this email address by 31 January 2022:

Planting and walking access plan for Avoca Native Forest, Lake Middleton Recreation Reserve.

December 2021

It’s mistletoe / pikirangi flowering time again…

It’s the time of year when the red (Peraxilla tetrapetala) and scarlet (Peraxilla colensoi) mistletoe / pikirangi start to flower and puts on a magnificent display in the beech forests at Lake Ōhau. Yellow mistletoe (Alepis flavida) can also been seen but you will need to look harder to find it – it is rarer than the red and scarlet varieties.

A great place to see the mistletoe / pikirangi is the Parsons Creek track, that leaves a carpark beside the Parsons Creek bridge and heads up the terrace through the beech forest. There are numerous mistletoe plants on the beech trees. The flowers on these plants are open now.When you reach the A2O cycle track, you can follow it south across the terraces and into the beech forest at Sawyers Creek and further on through the beech forest on the way to Freehold Creek. There is plenty of mistletoe / pikirangi along the cycle track, it flowers slightly later so visit in a couple of weeks.

You can find information about mistletoe / pikirangi on the Trust’s information sign at Sawyers Creek.

Lake Middleton Grebes

After a rocky start to the breeding season – the first nest slid off the unstable floating nesting raft – the Lake Middleton grebes have hatched two eggs. The parent birds are now cruising around the lake with the baby grebes nestled on their backs. These fantastic photos where taken by Helen McMahon on Sat 4 December.

Lake Middleton grebe family

AGM 2020/21

The Trust’s AGM is being held on the weekend of 22/23 January 2022. The day, time and venue will be confirmed closer to the time – details will be updated here. You are very welcome to attend to hear about the Trust’s activities, learn how you could be involved and acknowledge all the work volunteers do to protect and enhance the special Lake Ōhau natural environment.

Mountain beech flowers

September 2021

Predator monitoring

In August we set out 24 (6 lines of 4) monitoring tunnels to capture mustelid activity. These were placed so that a variety of terrain and environment can be assessed. We have successfully collected the first monitoring pads for analysis. As you can see from the pictures, there are a few critters around and this was only over a one night period! We will continue to monitor after we have our new mustelid traps in operation so that we capture on-going activity throughout our programme.

Generous donation for Lake Middleton seating area

A new seating area, with spectacular lake and mountain views is to be installed at Lake Middleton. The Freemason lodges in South Canterbury and Otago as well as the National Freemason’s charity have made a significant donation of $33,030.00 to the Trust. This donation will be used to create an area with seating, paths and planting as part of the Trust’s enhancement project for the former tree plantation between the Village and the Lake Middleton campsite.

Read more about it in this article in the Timaru Herald –

A $33,030 donation from New Zealand Freemasons is made to the Ōhau Conservation Trust for the re-establishment of the flora destroyed by the fires. From left are: Ed King, Freemasons charity officer, Otago Lakes; Katrina Te Rito, secretary of OCT; Will Spry, Freemasons; Viv Smith-Campbell, chairperson of OCT; Jeff Elston, Freemasons; and Alex Solomon, district grand master.

Spring at Lake Ōhau

It’s September, and spring has sprung…

The kowhai along the lake, near the Village, is flowering and a kereru / wood pigeon has been seen feeding on the new leaves and flowers. Plants damaged by the Oct 2020 wildfire are also re-sprouting…

July 2021

Planting in autumn 2021 and planning ahead

We’ve had a very successful autumn planting, getting in 476 plants. We are very grateful to everyone that helped – volunteers who did the planting, those that supplied us with planting materials and those that made donation so we could purchase the plants and other equipment. See the Home page for more information and photos.

Planning is underway for our autumn 2022 planting sessions – check here for more details early in 2022.

Predator trapping

Replacement predator traps, for those we lost in the October 2020 wildfire, have been ordered. We’re working with DOC Twizel and our trapping volunteers to replace destroyed and damaged possum traps and to get our new traps installed, so we can continue our trapping projects. 32 possums have been caught in the eight months since the fire – they are still out there!

April 2021

186 plants in the ground on 24 April 2021

Great weather and 21 volunteers made short work on getting all 186 plants (beech trees, coprosma and snow tussocks) planted in the morning of 24 April at Poverty Point. We put the plants in the wire protectors around plants that were burnt in the Oct 2020 wildfire. We found some burnt plants sending up new shoots – so gave them some care as well! The auger was brilliant for digging holes for plants.

AGM for 2019/20 financial year

The Trust held the AGM on the 13 March 2021. The Annual Report and the unconfirmed minutes of the AGM for the 2019/20 year are available here.

Donation from Stihl New Zealand

The Trust has received a very welcome donation from Stihl NZ – an earth auger. This allows us to dig holes with ease when we are planting native plants. We also received safety gear for those operating the auger, from the Stihl Shop Wanaka. We really appreciate this generous support from Stihl.

Jenna Scott, the Stihl Shop Wanaka and Viv Smith-Campbell, Chairperson of the Trust with the new earth auger and safety gear.

New native mistletoe/pikirangi information sign

The information sign about the prolific native mistletoe/pikirangi in our beech forests, has been installed at the bridge over Sawyers Creek on the A2O cycle trail. The sign provides information about the 3 types of mistletoe/pikirangi, how they grow on beech trees, the special relationship with korimako/bellbirds, the threat of possums and what the Trust is doing to protect the mistletoe/pikirangi and korimako/bellbirds.

Check it out when you next cycle or walk the A2O trail. Our special thanks the PureTrails New Zealand whose donation funding the sign.

Mistletoe/pikirangi sign at the Sawyers Creek bridge on the A2O cycle trail.
  • October 2020 – Lake Ōhau fire

    With the Lake Ōhau fire and its aftermath, the Trust wont be holding work sessions for the foreseeable future. We’ll provides updates here and directly to Trust supporters via our email list.

    Our thoughts are with everyone who has suffered loss from the fire.

    The Trust’s gear container was untouched by the fire – so we have tools and resources for future work. We’ll work with the Department of Conservation about what that work might be. We’re committed to helping how we can, to bring back some “nature” to the Ōhau Basin, so those living there will again have special natural places to go as the people and the environment heals.

    If you would like to contribute to this….please make a donation to the Trust. Our bank account number is: 06-0966-0125223-00 

    You can make a donation directly to this account. If you then use the Contact Us form to let is know your email address – we can send you a receipt for tax purposes.

    Thank you to those that have already been in contact with messages of support and who have made donations.

    Trust’s gear container at Lake Middleton reserve, after the Lake Ōhau fire.
  • September 2020

    We resume our work sessions on Sunday 27 September at 10am. We’re meeting at the Trust’s gear container and intend to do some care of plants at the container and those opposite the Aubrey Reserve. We’ve also got some seedlings to re-pot so they can be kept over summer and planted in autumn.

  • May 2020

    The Queens Birthday weekend work session has been cancelled. We’ll resume our work sessions in spring on the 27 September 2020 (South Canterbury Anniversary weekend).

  • April 2020

    We hope everyone is well, staying home, staying safe and being kind – in these unprecedented times. Usually at Easter, the Trust and our supporters are busy with work sessions at Lake Ōhau. We had planned to plant more beech trees this year.

    The beech trees are being cared for by Motukarara Nursery (thanks to them!) and we’ll hopefully get them in the ground later this year or next year.

    Our work sessions are all cancelled until we move to a covid-19 alert level that allows for this type of work to be carried out. We’ll let you know when we are ready to get out and look after our special natural environment at Lake Ōhau.

  • January 2020

    Trust AGM – 26 January 2020

    Our AGM was held today on a sunny and still morning, sitting under the trees near the gear container at Lake Middleton. Thanks to the supporters who attended – we had a great discussion about the Trust’s work and various other matters that we will follow up on.

    Here are the documents presented at the AGM:

    Annual Report for year ending 30 September 2019

    Financial Accounts for year ending 30 September 2019

    Work Programme and budget for 2019/2020 year

    AGM Minutes 27 January 2019

    Here is a link to the recent video made by Environment Canterbury about wilding tree control in the Mackenzie Basin that is referred to in the Annual Report –

    We farewelled Trustees Grant Eames and Stacey Burnett at the meeting. Thank you both for your contribution to the Trust. Grant had been a Trustee for 8 years, 3 years as Chairperson and has made a significant contribution to the Trust.

    Update on Cotoneaster eradication work

    Since 2017, the Trust has been working with Environment Canterbury, Department of Conservation and Waitaki District Council on the eradication of cotoneaster within the Ōhau basin.  This work continues and crews will be out again in February and March to carry out more control work.

    If you have seen an area with cotoneaster present that doesn’t look like it has had control work undertaken, please let the Trust know so we can ensure that control work happens there.

    Here are some resources about cotoneaster – how to identify it and control it:


    Weed Busters:

    Land Care Research:

    Trust AGM

    The Trustee’s are holding the AGM on Sunday 26 January 2020 at 11am at the Trust’s gear container at Lake Middleton, on the corner of Lake Ōhau Road and Ōhau Drive (road into the Village). Please bring a picnic chair and park any vehicles well away from the corner. If the weather doesn’t suit an outside venue, the AGM will be held at 17 Ōhau Drive (corner Ōhau Drive and Temple Lane – entry off Temple Lane). Supporters are invited to join the Trustees at the AGM.

    2020 work sessions

    Check the dates for our work sessions on the “Get Involved” page of the website. We have ordered beech seedlings again and we intend to plant these at our Easter work session on Sunday 12 April.

    Grebe update

    Our Lake Middleton floating nesting rafts have again provided a safe nesting place for grebe. Two grebe chicks are being raised by the parent birds (amidst all the summer holiday activities at Lake Middleton!). We expect the grebes will nest again (as they have done since the nesting rafts were installed) and raise more chicks through the late summer.

  • September 2019

    Spring is here and we will start our volunteer work sessions again this month. The grebes at Lake Middleton have also arrived back after their winter holiday and are reclaiming their floating nesting raft from the scaup, mallard ducks and shags. Grebe nesting is likely to happen soon.

    September work session – planting around the Trust’s gear container

    Our first spring activity is on Sunday 22 September starting at 10am. We’re going to do some planting around the Trust’s gear container at Lake Middleton. All the tools and other materials we need for the planting are in the container. We’ve formed a bund for the planting so that we can landscape the area to make it an attractive route to Lake Middleton and provide some shade for the container.

    October work session – wilding tree removal from QEII Trust wetland covenant area

    At Labour weekend, Sunday 27 October, we’ll be removing wilding trees from the QEII Trust wetland covenant area to the right as you travel towards Lake Ōhau – there are 2 wetland areas nestled in the old moraines (and another large wetland to the left as well). There is now a profusion of small to medium wilding trees growing in and around the wetlands.

    We may extend our session to go from 10am to 2pm (rather than finishing at 12 noon) – depending on numbers of volunteers and progress made on removing the trees. Further details will be sent by email to those on our supporters list. To join our supporters list – use the form in the “Contact us” tab on this website.

April 2021

  • June 2019
    Lake Middleton A comprehensive report about the intrinsic values of the Lake Middleton catchment has been prepared by John Benn, of the Department of Conservation. You can read the report here –Lake Middleton Catchment Report June 2019
  • May 2019
    The work session at Queens Birthday weekend (2 June) has been cancelled. We’ll resume work sessions in Spring – on 22 September (South Canterbury Anniversary weekend). Lake Middleton On 17 May a field visit hosted by the Upper Waitaki Zone Committee took place at Lake Middleton. The Zone Committee invited DOC, Waitaki District Council, adjoining […]
  • April 2019
    27 and 28 April work session cancelled All 147 beech trees are now planted so the next work sessions are cancelled. Thanks to all the volunteers who planted the remaining trees during the week. Easter Saturday and Sunday beech tree planting With around twenty adults and lots of keen children, we planted around 50 beech […]
  • January 2019
    Here is the Trust’s Work Programme 2019 and the Chairperson’s Annual Report as presented at the AGM held on 27 January 2019. Work mornings in 2019 The dates for the work mornings in 2019 are listed under the “Getting Involved” tab.
  • June 2018
    The Queens Birthday weekend work session has been cancelled due to foggy and frosty weather – not conducive to working outside or using the chemical on rosehip/briar. Next work session is in spring – Sunday 23 September 2018. Details will be sent out prior to this time.
  • March 2018
    There are the Trust’s Performance Report 2016/17 and the minutes of the AGM held on the 21 January 2018 AGM minutes (unconfirmed).
  • November 2017
    Trust’s AGM The AGM will be held on Sunday 21 January 2018 starting at 11am at the Lake Ōhau Lodge. We encourage you to stay for lunch at the Lodge after the AGM. A booking for lunch is required. Work mornings in 2018 The dates for the work mornings in 2018 are listed under the […]
  • September 2017
    Cotoneaster eradication work The Trust’s work with the Department of Conservation, Environment Canterbury and Waitaki District Council to eradicate cotoneaster from around Lake Ōhau was reported in the Waitaki Herald on 30 August 2017 ( Cotoneaster is an evergreen small shrub or tree originating from China and the Himalayas. It over-tops and replaces native shrub […]
  • April 2017
    Planting natives at Twizel and Lake Ōhau Here is a planting guide that provides information for property owners in Twizel and at Lake Ōhau who want to plant natives in their gardens that reflect the natural local environment. You can pick up a printed copy of the Planting Guide from the Te Manahuna/Twizel Department of […]
  • January 2017
    Here are the Annual and Financial Reports presented at the AGM held on the 15 January 2017, as well as the AGM minutes (unconfirmed).
  • October 2016
    Trust’s AGM The AGM will be held on Sunday 15 January 2017 starting at 11am at the Lake Ōhau Lodge. We encourage you to stay for lunch at the Lodge after the AGM. A booking for lunch is required. Work mornings in 2017 The dates for the work mornings in 2017 are listed under the […]
  • May 2016
    FUNDRAISING DINNER AND EILEEN MCMILLAN LECTURE Lake Ōhau Scientific Drilling: First findings from lake drilling project – presented by members of the Lake Ōhau Scientific Drilling project team SUNDAY 5 JUNE 6.30PM – 3 COURSE DINNER AND FUNDRAISING EVENT AT THE LAKE ŌHAU LODGE TICKETS $60 – $30 will go to the Ōhau Conservation Trust […]
  • January 2016
    At the Trust AGM, the Trustee’s acknowledge the contribution of Trustees and supporters who died during 2015:Eileen McMillan (Secretary/Treasurer for 10 years); David Becroft (longstanding supporter of the Trust); John Hall-Jones (the Trust’s Patron) and John Smithies (Chairperson for 8 years). All committed a large amount of time and energy to the Trust’s activities and […]
  • March 2014
    It is now ten years since the first small group of keen but inexperienced volunteers were led out by Department of Conservation staff and introduced to the growing problem of “wilding” pines in the Lake Ōhau valley. Large landowners were removing substantial infestations of self-seeding conifers, but conservation land desperately needed attention too. Since then […]
  • January 2013
    Birds are also benefiting from the Trust’s most recent project, predator trapping. Ten child-proof and dog-proof humane, instant-kill traps placed unobtrusively along the lake shore caught nearly twenty ferrets, several stoats and a weasel in their first six weeks of operation in autumn. The traps are regularly patrolled by local volunteers. Lake Ōhau’s scarlet and […]
  • October 2011
    2010/11 has seen tremendous progress in conservation work around Lake Ōhau. $7,000 has been spent by the Trust on contractors to remove wild rose-briar, broom, barberry and other weeds along the lake shore. This work is being followed up by Trust volunteers. The scrub cutter bought with grant funding from Meridian Energy has proved extremely […]