Tree Planting volunteering day – Rotorua Island 11/08
Only an hour and 10 minutes away by ferry from Auckland CBD, Rotoroa island is yet a world away. One of the smaller of the Hauraki Gulf’s island, the picturesque Rotoroa island is lined with Pohutukawa Trees, dotted with golden sand beaches and you can walk from one coast to the other in less than 15 minutes.
As you venture on the walking trails, past regenerative bush, listening to the calls of the Takahe and the saddle back, it is easy to forget Rotoroa wasn’t always this island paradise.
Back in 1911 The Salvation Army opened Rotoroa Island as a rehabilitation centre for alcohol and drug addicted patients. It was the first and longest running addiction treatment centre, running until 2005. During this period Rotoroa Island was largely self-sufficient. Vegetable gardens, working farms and orchards provided plenty of fresh food to the island’s occupants.
After the closure of the centre, the Rotoroa Island Trust was established in 2008 to purchase a 99-year lease from The Salvation Army.
The Trust has been working ever since to restore the island’s original landscape and ecosystems.
Pine and Macrocarpa were cut down and replaced with native species, weeds were pulled out, pest such as rats and stoat were eradicated, supporting the return and re-introduction of kiwi, takahe, weka, Tieke (saddlebacks) and many more native species…
The trust highly relies on volunteers to keep on top of the work so taking part in their monthly run tree planting programme is a great opportunity to visit this wonderful island while getting your hands dirty for a good cause.
Leaving from Auckland CBD at 8.45am your ferry will whisk you away across the Hauraki Gulf.
As you disembark on Rotoroa Island, you will be met by the friendly rangers, go through biosecurity then briefed on the day’s programme.
Terrain can vary from steep and muddy hillside to the gentle dunes of ladies Bay so there will always be a suitable planting option for your level of fitness. The day is also great for family with younger children. The planting usually happens from 11am to 3pm (with a lunch break) so you still have plenty of time to walk around the island, go for a swim or visit the excellent exhibition centre before your ferry leaves again at 5pm.
You will be back in the city by 6pm, with the satisfaction of a good day’s work!