Introducing Matiu-Somes Island

Last week, the MAS Risk and Compliance Team all got together for a day out doing some good in our community. For this they spent the day volunteering their time and labour on Matiu/Somes Island, in Wellington Harbour. 

Matiu/Somes is a scientific and historic reserve owned by local iwi and managed by the Department of Conservation. It is a predator-free sanctuary for native plants, birds, reptiles and invertebrates. It also has a rich and varied history as a human quarantine station.

The island is also dependent on regular volunteer groups visiting and carrying out many of the ongoing maintenance tasks. Luckily for DoC it is a popular spot and it took several months for our team to find an available volunteering slot. 


MAS takes on the island 

They had hoped to pick a scorcher of a summer's day to enjoy the island's Mediterranean climate, but in typical Wellington fashion they were treated to a brisk and building gale. At least the sun was out, which meant the team would be assigned jobs outside in the fresh air. 

Their first hurdle was to make it past the strict biosecurity inspection that visitors to the island undertake on arrival, and they were luckily all allowed ashore. 

After a rigorous health and safety briefing, they learned what their task for the day would be... cutting back vegetation from paths and buildings and then breaking it down into smaller pieces to go in the wood chipper. With that, the team were set loose with a variety of hand tools and some stylish overalls for a few hours of hard labour. 

Everyone pulled their weight and they did a great job of reducing what had started off as a pretty huge pile of branches. 

One learning they all had was that sheep have a voracious appetite for leaves of the Taupata Tree. They were given a quick lesson on how to distinguish these from the toxic Ngaio leaves and then hauled a feast up to the paddocks for the resident sheep to tuck into. 

The team did a great job with their combined efforts to contribute to one of Wellington's conservation jewels and who knows, perhaps this will be their destination next year too!


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