Photo: Anna White

Field Trip to Twin Dune Lakes

Grateful thanks to Geoff and Mark Muir, George and Karl Flavell, Tricia Aspin, Jack Harper and all who joined the Awhitu Landcare team for a really memorable field trip across the Muir property in Karioitahi on Anzac Sunday. We viewed the two ancient dune lakes of Puketi and Rotoiti, numerous Pa sites and Maori ruas (storage pits), knelt down to view threatened lakeside plants (photos in gallery) and looked out to see magnificent, healthy, rolling dune countryside. All in great company.

Mark Muir spoke of plans to fence around the two lakes and revegetate the margins, starting this year.  Tricia Aspin, renown expert on the Awhitu ecological district, identified numerous threatened (tiny, tiny!) lakeside plants and spoke of the dilemma we face about fencing areas to keep stock permanently out.  If this happens, in the Awhitu area rampant kikuyu grass soon takes over and would engulf, rot down and destroy the tiny lakeside plants very quickly.  Occasional and brief grazing, to keep grasses to a low level and within their own ‘zones’ seems to be the logical answer - this would take very careful management.  Tricia was delighted to find freshwater ‘seaweed’ (photo in gallery) in Lake Puketi - this can only survive in very healthy waters.  Mark told us he swam in the lake and had tried to dive to the bottom a few times - but that it was very, very deep. To view photos and descriptions of the field trip sites, amd threatened lakeside plants, please view our gallery (double click on any photo, and then use arrow keys to scroll through all photos).