Only a few days into our stay on the island, and I found myself alone for three nights as Sam and the other students in the Blue House return to the mainland for the weekend. It became an opportunity to explore more of the islands and get to know some of the key volunteers that make so much of Motutapu what it is. On Saturday, Hazel very generously offered to drive me close to the summit of Rangitoto at 5am! In the dark, I climbed to the viewing platform, enjoying the slowly arriving light and the sight of Auckland under a big round moon. Watching the day start, with the island to myself, will hands down go down as one of the best things I have ever seen!
The next day, I enjoyed catching up on some sleep before heading up to the tree nursery. Established by the Motutapu Restoration Trust in 1992, the nursery and volunteers have been planting natives on the island for more than 20 years. It can be quickly seen but maybe not comprehended, the significance of the volunteer force in making Motutapu what it is. Many of the regular volunteers have been there from, or very close to, the beginning, and have since devoted more years to the restoration of the island than I have lived in my life so far. The day is spent transferring seedlings into bags to allow them to grow until they are to be planted, later in the year when conditions are optimal. I am very grateful for the Motutapu Restoration Trust and all their hard work, and for so openly sharing with me some of that work, as well as the wealth of stories and knowledge that comes with it.
BLAKE DOC Ambassador 2016