Mana Island – 3 December 2016

On Saturday 3 December, a group of 19 Masterton Tramping Club members, partners and friends travelled to Mana Island. We were taken in a launch from Mana Marina to the island. This was part of the fun as it was a pristine day and we could see our destination getting closer and closer for most of the trip.

When we reached Mana Island, we were greeted by the ranger who welcomed us and gave us a few tips about keeping the island rodent and weed seed free. We had already checked our packs and bags at the marina as one of our Members, Jason Christensen, was a ranger on the island for twelve years and not only organised the trip but also had us well prepped.
We had a bit of a break then and explored the woolshed before beginning our walk. Jason led us up Tirohanga Track. A new self-guided walk has been initiated so Jason was able to give us pamphlets about this and the option of being our own tour guides. There are numbered markers along the route and we were lucky enough to have Jason stop at each peg and explain the significance of the area.
These numbered pegs indicated everything from lizard colonies to historical landmarks and Jason was a mine of information. Julie found a lizard on the track as we walked and Jason was able to tell us the history of the McGregor skink on the island.

We continued up the track, marvelling at the veiws that are implied by the name of the track. We paused to hear stories and interesting snippets of information from Jason so this was not a strenuous walk although we did climb to quite a height. This afforded us views of Kapiti, Porirua, Ohau Point and the Kaikoura Coast.Our lunch stop was the old lighthouse site. There were many other opportunities for Jason to enlighten us about the history of the island as we walked. We were also able to see the conservation measures in place, the regenerating bush, the strategies to attract bird populations and the eradication of weeds and pests. One of the measures we were able to observe was this fence, placed to ensure the introduced lizards could find each other. We also saw some enormous wetas.
After lunch, we continued our circumnavigation of the island. Coming down the track, we could hear the Ngatitoa Taiaha Wananga taking place in the clearing near where the whare of Rangihaeata once stood. Jason also told us about Maori occupation of the Island, the tangata whenua and their involvement with the conservancy.

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