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 […]