For many years the Department of Conservation and partners have worked to restore Boundary Stream Scenic Reserve and the mainland island within it to what it is today.

Mainland islands were designed to protect and restore habitats on mainland New Zealand through intensive management of introduced pests.

The aim was to restore such areas as close as possible to pre-colonisation conditions, DoC Hawke's Bay operations manager Connie Norgate said.

"They are called mainland 'islands' because they are defined areas that are isolated by fencing, geographical features or, more commonly, intensive management of pests."

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While mainland islands were not a recent idea, the benefits from past trials and research into methods of pest control and monitoring were useful to inform current projects.

"One of the biggest issues mainland islands face, is the continual re-invasion of pests such as stoats and possums, from surrounding land. Despite these challenges, progress is being made."

Since 1996 a range of predator control had been used including toxins and traps.
Currently there was a network of almost 2000 traps over the 800ha at Boundary Stream providing protection to allow most native wildlife to flourish, Ms Norgate said.

Rat numbers were monitored four times a year throughout the reserve, and information gathered over the past few years had shown how predator numbers fluctuated over time and their response to various control techniques.

"This means DoC knows that with a combination of traps, predator levels appear to be holding at a low level, rather than fluctuating with the season, and this is great news for the native wildlife," she said.

"Various species have been translocated to the area, some of which include kiwi, kokako, kaka, kakariki, cooks petrel and mottled petrel.

"The population of robins, tomtits, riflemen and whiteheads have been numerous enough to allow translocations from Boundary Stream Mainland Island to other parts of the region."

Partnerships

Many hands were involved in these efforts, including local DoC rangers, members of the community, Poutiri Ao ō Tāne and Maungaharuru-Tangitū Trust (MTT).

A kawenata or co-governance agreement was now in place between DoC and MTT, as well as the gifting of significant hapū land to the people of Aotearoa.

Through the week-long Tuku Whenua ceremony held in January 2017, the relationship between DoC and the local Maungaharuru-Tangitū hapū was providing benefits for both the community and Aotearoa, said Kaiwhakahaere Matua – Maungaharuru-Tangitū Trust general manager Shayne Walker.

"This koha of reserves to the people of Aotearoa is not only an acknowledgement of the traditional hapū ownership and the illegal confiscation by the Crown, it also signifies the preparedness and generosity of the hapū to the Hawke's Bay community and our eco-system."

This partnership was recently strengthened with the introduction of MTT ranger Pereri King.

Mr King was one of many people who maintained and serviced the traps at regular intervals.

In addition, this group of rangers and volunteers kept the tracks open, ran tracking tunnels and monitored rodent numbers.

"Volunteers are invaluable to the running of many conservation projects. Almost 2000 hours have been donated over the past year alone," said Ms Norgate.

"At the mainland island, volunteers help with trapping and seabird and kaka translocations.

"Hopefully through the work we do here we can return the rumbling and roaring to the Maungaharuru range."

For a glimpse of how Hawke's Bay might have looked a few hundred years ago head to Boundary Stream Scenic Reserve this summer.

A one-hour scenic drive from Napier along SH2 will take you to the traditional lands of Maungaharuru-Tangitu hapū. There you will be greeted by bird song, or Maungaharuru - the mountain that rumbles and roars, and if you arrive early enough you may be serenaded by the call of the kōkako in the distance, while kāka fly overhead.

The best way to experience this slice of paradise is by foot. This scenic reserve is criss-crossed by some spectacular walks where you will not only experience the sounds of birds and invertebrates – many of which have had to be reintroduced to the area – but some of the most spectacular flora has been replenished as well. Perhaps the jewel on the reserve is Shine Falls – Hawke's Bay's largest falls at 58 metres – an easy 40-minute return walk with children along the Tumanako Loop Track.