On a damp winter’s morning a group of excited, warmly dressed lawyers boarded the East by West Ferry to cross Wellington Harbour and landed on beautiful Matiu/Somes Island.
After a quick biosecurity briefing (and convincing Betsyn to put down her phone and stop lawyering), we were let loose with wheelbarrows and tools to clear drainage channels, rebuild storm-damaged pathways and trim back the native vegetation.
Just before lunch we were incredibly lucky to get to see one of the wonderful volunteers from Eastbourne Forest Rangers showing off his pal Tony, one of the local little blue penguins.
The rangers have been monitoring the little blue penguins for a number of years and explained how sensitive their colony is to even minor temperature changes in the harbour. Last year’s warmer winter sadly saw an unusually low number of new chicks on the island.
Following a rapid lunch and a bit of shelter from a rather heavy shower it was back to work; more clearing drainage and helping to repair an old culvert (and then hunting in the gravel for a dropped drill bit – oops).
Everyone’s favourite part of the day was taking some food into the sheep paddock and meeting the new lambs – two of them were only 12 hours old!
The locals did manage to forgive Wendy for her incredibly inappropriate choice of t-shirt, and Betsyn for her dark thoughts…
We had a short amount of time to explore the island and its history before boarding the ferry back to the real world.
Huge thanks to Volunteer Wellington for arranging this for us and Department of Conservation & Ranger Jeff for having us – we all had such a great time and deeply appreciated the opportunity to do good for the day!
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