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About Pohokura

Pohokura comprises 11,348 hectares of native forest north of the
Napier-Taupo highway in the Central North Island. The area is
predominantly covered in Red Beech forest but fourteen vegetation
types have been identified.

Simon Hall, who purchased this property in 1999, is committed to
realising Pohokura’s ecological potential as far as is practically and
financially feasible. Since 1999 he has established, at his own expense,
good back-country infrastructure, necessary for continued project work
and recreational activity.

This includes 120km of walking track, eight huts and other accommodation,
vehicles, equipment and communications.

Kiwi were surveyed at Pohokura in 1997, when numbers were found to be
very low. In the last three years Kiwi calls or Kiwi signs have been recorded
at the following places:

  • Matakahuia Hut and catchment
  • Moose Central Hut
  • Top of Beryl’s Track
  • Mokomokoma Stream 1.5km north of Hut
  • Hilton Hut (just downstream)

Archaeology

In 2009 a hunting party comprising Andy Lowe, his son Hunter, and others were hunting deer in the vicinity of the 1,383 metre high-point at Pohokura. Hunter found a piece of obsidian, a naturally occurring volcanic glass. It had a distinctive flake pattern along two of its edges, indicating that it had been used as a source for cutting implements.

Little evidence indicating past Maori occupation had been recorded at Pohokura since Simon Hall purchased the property in 1999 but the piece of obsidian found by Hunter Lowe proves that the area was indeed visited in the past. One possible explanation would be the presence of ground-nesting seabirds, which would have provided an abundant food source for Maori.

Pest control

All of Pohokura has been treated aerially with 1080 poison for the control of possums, with the most recent drop undertaken during the winter of 2009. Funding received from the Department of Conservation in recent years has contributed to the success of this project.

Whio

The periodic spread of 1080 poison is believed in some circles to provide ample protection for Whio (Blue Duck). Whio is a highly endangered rare duck which is threatened by predation, mainly stoats. In April 2004 a survey was undertaken at Pohokura, in which 18 pairs and 19 single Whio were recorded -  a nationally significant population.

Our goal at Pohokura is to provide a safe haven where Whio can survive and expand into the surrounding public and private land.

Whio breeding at Pohokura was documented from several sites. However, not all potential breeding sites were visited during the summer of 2009/10 so additional breeding may have gone unrecorded.  

Forest restoration

Pinus contorta is a variety of pine tree which spreads vigorously and grows quickly to suppress native vegetation. The removal of this species has been an on-going task at Pohokura. In recent years we’ve removed at least 2,729 seedlings and shrubs and 264 mature Pinus contorta from Pohokura and DOC land.

Pittosporum turneri, a shrub or small tree, is ranked as ‘Nationally Vulnerable’ by DOC. This is the most threatened ranking of any species yet identified at Pohokura. Our estimate of the total number of plants here exceeds 1,000 - five to 10 percent of the estimated population remaining nationally.

Possums pose a major threat to Pittosporum turneri, browsing and killing the juvenile plant and suppressing the emergence of adult foliage. Since on-going periodic aerial 1080 poisoning for possums began in 2005 we’ve seen the emergence of adult foliage and seed. In 2008 and 2009 seed pods were collected and taken to Taupo Native Plant Nursery for propagation, with the intention of returning any resulting plants to Pohokura. Continued possum control and the propagation of seed to establish another population to the south should further safeguard the plant at Pohokura.
Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust

 

© Forest Lifeforce Restoration Trust.