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Aye Aye Jay Jay

Lead Person: Delice Gregory and Angela Kokich (co-conspirators)

Usual number in team: 2

Start Date: June 2014

What inspired us to adopt-a-spot:
We are Angela Kokich and Delice Gregory - we are the Mexican Devil Destroyers. We have adopted this spot because it is a challenge. If we concentrate our energy into one specific area we might see a better improvement in weed control. We hope to inspire other volunteers to adopt a spot of their own on the island.

Most recent entry at top, first entry at bottom of the page.

20 September 2017

Delice, Dwane, Angela and Constance spent a lovely day weeding on the island. The usual suspects - blackberry, mexican devil and a few other miscreants.

We had a relaxing lunch at the bottom of the J-line, and here is my photo...

Lunch at the bottom of the J-line

It was wet, the weeds come out easily and we fell over easy too!

Looking forward to returning next month.

22nd July 2016

Delice, Angela ,Dwane and German girls, Johanna and Annabelle, spent the day on the island.

First we sorted out plants to put in our spot, plus a few extras for the bottom of the ski slope. Emma in the Polaris delivered our trees plus Delice and the girls close to our spot. The girls were wanting to experience as much of Limestone Is. as possible. We planted about 30 trees, had our morning tea and then planted the remaining trees on the ski slope, about 70 trees in all. We now have a Rimu, two Matai and a Miro on our spot.

After planting we stood on the ski slope look-out and watched the birds including a white Oyster catcher. We decided to have our lunch at the Pa site as the weather and view to the oil refinery and surrounds had been amazing. However, by the time we collected our back-packs, spades etc. and staggered from our spot, the weather had changed and it was raining. We went back to the cabin to have our lunch arriving about 2p.m. Bevan (the trapper) and two electricians were also there so decided to leave the Island with them. We left about 2.30 after a rather strenuous day walking up hill and down.

Our spot looks awesome. All the trees are healthy and doing really well.

11th March 2016

Delice and Angela had another brilliant day on Matakohe/Limestone Island. For starters the weather was overcast but fine. We spent about an hour scattering karaka seeds in Horahora School's adopt-a-spot and enjoyed sitting on Simon Badham's seat after we finished.

Then onwards to AyeAye-JaeJae where we worked for an hour and a half pulling every weed in sight, to discover numerous new native seedlings have sprouted up, mainly kawakawa and kanuka/manuka. The el nino weather pattern has been kind this summer and our mulched saplings are looking rather healthy. We had morning tea at the bottom of the J-line and then returned uphill for another hour of weeding before lunch.

We spent another hour and a half after lunch tackling weeds and managed to poison (cut and paint) a lot of newly sprouted blackberry plants. Dwane joined us for an hour or so before heading off to check his neighbouring spot.

We had to catch the boat back at 3pm as the tides have been so high and low that Bernie was worried if we went later, the barge would get stuck in the mud in the little harbour. When your hands are busy with hard physical work, your head can become full of new ideas and you can feel so contented at the end of your toil. Worth coming back again.

16 Dec 2015

Constance, Delice and Angela started off the day by feeding a couple of petrel chicks. We came to do weeding but ended up doing a little feeding.

We got to our spot at about 11am and started down the bottom of JJ, pulling every weed in sight, thistles, biddi-bid, convolvulus and the occasional and very small mexican devil.

We had a late lunch down the bottom of the J line looking at an awesome view. Dwane caught up with us and helped with another hour or two of weeding before we headed back to catch the boat home.

We may not have pulled out all the biddi-bid that have started flowering in our spot but we have given them a good fright.

This is our last visit until March 2016 when we will start back after a well earned summer break. We are amazed how improved our spot looks and have had many laughs over the last 12 months. We have been joined by Constance, Lars Arnesen, Kathryn Schicker, Chris Kokich and Dwane Kokich who have helped us with our project. We hope they will return in the future to see the rewards of their time helping us two Mexican Devil Destroyers

9 Dec 2015

What a beautiful day we had on the island. The welcoming ceremony for the 48 Oi chicks was really a treat we had not planned to be a part of.

Delice, Constance and Angela left the celebration to go and eliminate bidi-bids which seem to be the latest invasion to our spot. We had a very productive day and feel we achieved a lot to what seemed a real problem on our last visit. Angela wore a long-sleeved shirt and gloves which avoided the skin reaction she had last time.

Apparently nature abhors space and now we have removed the Mexican Devil (which took up a lot of space), new weed species are taking advantage of those spaces. Fortunately some native species are also flourishing, like kawakawa and karo. Dwane caught up with us and we visited his adjoining spot before going home.

27 Nov 2015

Delice, Angela and Chris Kokich spent the morning pulling out bidi-bid weed close to the old fenceline at the top of our spot. We worked our way downhill and discovered we have a bidi-bid outbreak! These become a real problem later on, sticking to your clothes, shoes, hair and also crowd-out the small seedlings. We thought by stopping them seeding this year, they might be less of a problem in future years.

Afer a late lunch, we decided to call it a day because Angela appears to be allergic to bidi-bid with arms to the shoulder coming up in red welts and very itchy. Taking another anti-histamine tablet did not seem to improve things so we abandoned the day and headed for the shelter at the ruins where we knew Bernie, Dwane and Gerry were putting up the new lizard sign - it looks great. Left for home with promise to return soon to deal to the bidi-bids.

14 Oct 2015

When we first started on our spot, we made rather large piles of weeds, mainly Mexican Devil. We had a few comments about the untidiness, but as the year has gone by, our messy piles have become wonderful mulch to put around our trees to help them survive the summer.

We were the only intrepid volunteers to venture to the island today as the forecast was not too good. It ended up being a fabulously dry day, but a little chilly.

We spent a few gut-busting hours tackling large spade-wrenching Mexican Devils and cutting back blackberry in the neighbouring plot of K-line. After lunch we mulched plants and pulled out smaller weeds that had grown since our last visit. Usual cuppa with Bernie before going back to the mainland.

23 Sept 2015

Broadcasting native seeds in the understorey of trees is really just mimicking what birds do naturally in the forest. Dwane has long been scattering seeds on Limestone Island and recently gathered an abundance of Titoki seeds (18 litres to be precise). Delice and I divided these between us and set off with a map of where they would be best suited around the island. It must have been a bit wet because the map disintegrated before we finished! We followed a new track from the Ski Slope lookout through the bush to the Flaxfield at the cement ruins. We deviated at baitline-K and headed toward the petrel station and had to bush-whack to get through. We also followed the hill track and run out of seeds. It will be great if even one percent grew, all for free.

Back at our spot we spent a bit of time fighting with blackberry (cut and applied Vigillant) then stopped for lunch. After lunch we spent a couple of hours mulching saplings and general weeding of little Mexican Devil plants, fleabane, thistles and grass - all of which are growing like billyho at this time of year. Returned to Bernie's cabin around 4pm for a delicious chocolate cake made by Delice.

4 Sept 2015

Angela and Delice spent half a day at II-JJ. We did a recce to check for weeds first. We planned to spend the afternoon mulching around saplings using rotted down Mex. Devil from the past. Did some but got rained off and will have to wait for next time. Hope the predicted El Nino is not too drying to our spot over the coming summer. The rest of the time we wandered from II3 to JJ3 pulling out the odd weed and digging out three pampas plants. It was good to see that this extended plot is less weedy than we first thought. We returned to Bernie's cabin to find Bernie and others driving up the hill in the brand new Polaris - arrived today. Although in plain view, they did not see us as they were focused on the new toy!

17 July 2015

Another successful day for Delice, Constance and Angela in our extended plot of JJ2 to JJ3 and II2 to II3 though Angela managed to get a stick in the ear.

We felt we did not really have a plan of attack for the day. We had a bag of ripe nikau seed to cast about in the more shaded, damper areas on our Spot. We also spent two hours cutting out large blackberry at the border between JJ3 and K3 which is next to the access track. We painted the canes with Vigilant and hope that will be the end of them! We also used teamwork to yank out some large Mexican Devil plants in the new area.

For morning tea we revisted the bottom of the J-line looking out to the Heads. Dwane joined us for lunch at the same location.

We spent the afternoon pulling out smaller weeds from our original spot. At 3pm we retreated to Bernie's cabin for coffee and muffins before leaving the island.

We also had a new 'Spot-Adopter', Steve Phillips who spent his day weeding his new spot on the Ski Slope. We hope he will be back for many more visits.

12 June 2015

Delice, Constance, Angela and Dwane visited II to JJ for the day. In the morning we planted 2 dozen trees in the gaps in our spot - we think it is full now. We ventured down 25 metres to JJ3 and spent some time digging out huge mexican devil weed.

For lunch we walked down the J baitline to sit on a bank looking out towards Whangarei Heads and beyond. We could see the old wharf at the cement mill ruins off to our left. This was a most scenic spot which we will return to.

After lunch we spent more time weeding in our extended plot. AyeAye 3 to JaeJae 3 has quite a lot of work to keep us going. Our initial spot was 50m by 50m, now we have extended it 50m by 75m and who knows, this time next year we might extend even further down the hill.

The forecast rain didn't arrive until we made the boat trip back to Onerahi - so it was a bonus day for us.

24 May 2015

It's a year on since we adopted our spot, which we have visited many times. We have before and after photos to show our progress. We think we averaged a visit each month with the two of us, over the last twelve months. During this time we have conquered huge mountains of Mexican Devil (In fact we have been referred to as the Mexican Devils) but our biggest challenge would have to be the blackberry. It took about 4 visits to kill most of the blackberry and we soon learnt that the best way was to use secateurs and paint the stump with Vigilant herbicide. Another problem has been the bidibid which, in future, we intend to weed out before it sets seed. Dwane has done a great job for us by keeping the muhlenbekia vines under control.

There was also a winter public planting day at our site in June 2014 and it was great to see all the open spots planted with trees. The planted teatree had small bamboo put beside them so we knew where they were, otherwise they were almost impossible to see when it came to do the next lot of weeding.

From our last visit on the 22nd May we felt we had got our spot under control so therefore have decided to extend our area by another 25 meters down the hill toward the beach.

Before we started

Change after 12 months

4 June 2014

Decided on how much area we would take on; except for a strip near the fence, all of it is heavily infested with Mexican Devil. The spot goes from the main paddock fence on the south side of the Pa (bait lines II to JJ) down the steep hill to bait stations IIS2 and JJS2 which is about 50m by 50m or 2,500 square metres. Delice, Angela and Dwane pulled Mexican Devil for approximately 2 hours. Relatively easy pulling as the ground was soft. Dwane cut back some blackberry with secateurs.

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