Welcome to the Longbush Ecosanctuary - an Ark in the Bush. The Ecosanctuary is a haven for rare and endangered species of native birds, plants and animals. It is reached by a winding gravel road up an inland valley, just 9 kilometres from Gisborne city on the Tai Rawhiti / East Coast of New Zealand.
From high hill ridges to the west, three streams tumble down steep valleys and across a plain, entering the Waimata River to the east. A rare surviving strip of lowland bush (Longbush Reserve) runs beside the Waimata River. The bush is alive with the sound of birds, including tui, bellbirds, fantails, kingfishers, whiteheads and many kereru or native pigeons.
The Longbush Ecosanctuary is a fine example of ecological restoration in the Tai Rawhiti district, whose biodiversity is at extreme risk from land clearance, erosion and introduced plants and animals.
Nau mai, haere mai!
Visitors are very welcome at Longbush Reserve (to the right up Riverside Road), which is open to the public.
Please stay on the track, be careful around electric fences, traps and streams, and take care of our precious bush.
Longbush Ecosanctuary (including the Welcome Shelter and 1769 Garden) can be visited by arrangement. We treat it like a marae – visitors very welcome, but the trustees need to know you’re coming!
The Waikereru Hills are actively managed, with trapping and shooting. For health and safety reasons, access by arrangement only.
The summer at Longbush has been hot, dry and windy. Much mulching and watering to take care of our precious plants. When a huge old Italian poplar crashed in a howling gale on the pond fence on Sunday, our Chairperson and Treasurer had to fix the fence, trim the tree and haul it out, gumboots, chainsaw and all.
Hard yakker, but much more fun than living in an old folks' home.
12 December 2016
This year we're translocating 16 oi chicks from Young Nick's Head to the inland colony at Longbush. They're flourishing, and 6 have already flown off on their Pacific migration. Many thanks to the Lotteries Commission for supporting this project.
The Wild Lab had another workshop at Longbush on Saturday, this time featuring the koura (native crayfish). Pete and Elle Jarratt with Murray Palmer, freshwater ecologist, headed into Gisborne city for a coffee, wearing the Oi and Koura costumes. The kids had a fabulous session at Longbush, exploring the koura's powers. We're grateful to the Lion Foundation for backing the Wild Lab.
Give Papa-tuanuku half a chance, and she produces wonders - like these native orchids, discovered by Malcolm Rutherford at Longbush. Thanks to the Clark Trust, DOC Community Partnership Fund and Robyn Wilkie of Ecoworks for the pest and weed control that allows them to flower again.
DOC, EIT, Longbush Trust and Riverside Road residents have got together to restore Donner's Bush. What a brilliant initiative. Hats off to Charles Barrie at DOC and Steve Phelps at EIT.
Last week Phillip Smith and James Fischer from 02 Landscapes joined Jeremy Salmond and Malcolm Rutherford, Curator at the 1769 Garden, building the stone rows and mounds in front of the Welcome Shelter. So exciting to see this marvellous garden, which features the plants collected by Joseph Banks and Dr. Solander on the Tai Rawhiti in 1769, taking taking shape for the 250th anniversary of the Endeavour's arrival in 2019.
14 February 2016
The Wild Lab programme for kids and teachers has kicked off, with Pete and Elle Jarratt running two highly successful workshops at the Ecosanctuary. See this video of their innovative, engaging approach to environmental education.
19 January 2016
Check out Ian Ruru's fabulous drone video of Longbush!
19 January 2016
What a magic summer at Longbush! A kids' art exhibition with Pete and Elle Jarratt in Longbush Reserve; 11 titi installed in artificial burrows up in the Waikereru Hills, with the blessing of Ngai Tamanuhiri; a visit by the Home Schools Enviroschools children, filmed by Ian Ruru; Phillip Smith and his family staying with us - more thinking about the 1769 Garden. Fabulous fun.
20 July 2015
Check out the Longbush Alphine Resort - cottage and hills in snow! First time in decades. Ski lift coming soon. (Courtesy Colin McNab)
25 June 2015
Philip Smith (landscape designer) and Malcolm Rutherford (QEII) chat as planting of the 1769 Garden gets under way in early June.
14 May 2015
Anne and Jeremy's kiwi namesakes, Ani and Jem, have been found together in their burrow at Whinray Reserve, Motu. According to Steve Sawyer, "Jem is an extremely handsome male kiwi weighing in at a fighting weight of 2.25 kg, in excellent condition. Very exciting. He is now wearing a radio transmitter and we will be able to follow their breeding progress starting in July and move their chicks into the kiwi creche at Motu". Jeremy says that Jem has a better crop of feathers than his namesake. Nice to know that we may be starting another family soon! Can't wait to have our own kiwis at Longbush.
14 May 2015
Philip Smith of 02 Landscapes has produced this brilliant plan for the 1769 Garden at Longbush, to be planted in front of the Welcome Shelter. This garden will commemorate the 250th anniversary of the arrival of Captain Cook's Endeavour in 1769 in Gisborne, at the mouth of the Waimata River. It features plants that grew in the Tai Rawhiti then, particularly species collected by Joseph Banks and Daniel Solander from the Royal Society party of scientists and artists, and will be a nationally significant garden. Very exciting! See the plant list attached.
11 March 2015
The Longbush Welcome Shelter has been formally opened by Meng Foon, the Mayor of Gisborne, and is creating a big buzz in architectural circles and in the local community. Look out for our proposals for a Wild Lab at Longbush - with a Discovery Trail for kids, and the Welcome Shelter as its hub.
For more images of the Welcome Shelter, see http://www.archdaily.com/603381/longbush-ecosanctuary-welcome-shelter-sarosh-mulla-design/
12 December 2014
After a year of marvellous effort and unstinting, warm-hearted contributions from a wide array of volunteers and sponsors, Sarosh's master work, the Welcome Shelter, is almost finished! Check out the Welcome Shelter website, part of his PhD in Architecture at the University of Auckland: www.welcomeshelter.com
25 November 2014
We've just christened the new bridge in Longbush Reserve with the Eastland Institute of Technology carpentry students who built it, and their tutor Ben Stevenson - they did a fabulous job. Many thanks to the Williams Trusts and the Eastern and Central Community Trust for their funding support for this project.
23 November 2014
Amy England from Ecoworks just spotted this miromiro (tomtit) in the Waikereru Hills at Longbush - looks as though they may be breeding. Great to have a safe haven for these little birds.
18 September 2014
Many thanks to Murray Palmer for an excellent report on the freshwater ecosystems at Longbush, which we aim to make a haven in the region for freshwater species including koura (freshwater crayfish), kakahi (freshwater mussels), giant kokopu and Hochstetter frogs. The streams are in great shape, after only 4 years of regeneration, while the ponds need a more reliable water supply and some work on phosphorus levels. Never a dull moment, so many great projects to do!
30 August 2014
Matt Evans and his team at the Eastland Institute of Technology are building this bridge in Longbush Reserve, funded by the Williams Trusts and the Eastern and Central Community Trust, and designed by Jeremy Salmond. This will give people a longer walk in the riverside bush, which is in great shape after more than 10 years of intensive pest and weed control. Thanks to all concerned for their generosity, skill and hard work.
10 June 2014
It is time for an update on the Longbush Welcome Shelter. As we head into winter, preparations are being made at Longbush for the onset of some wetter weather. Our stormwater drains are all working well thanks to much help from our friends at Mico. We now have enclosed interiors and I'll be moving on to fixing our joinery and cladding soon.
I've also been working on the drawbridge structure and hinge arrangement. This key part of the project will allow the ecologist and his team to run volunteer demonstrations across a large level platform - from inside to out.
All the very best,
8 March 2014
4 March 2014
Institute of Landscape Architects visit
Last weekend a host of landscape architects arrived at Longbush, and spent the morning exploring the Ecosanctuary. The Longbush team - Sarosh Mulla, Megan Wraight, Steve Sawyer and Janine Te Reo - gave fantastic presentations on what is happening on site.
It was a pleasure to have such thoughtful, expert and interesting visitors, and many thanks for their advice on how to fix an incontinent pond and their generous koha to the Longbush Trust.
Read more about the visit in this letter of support.
28 January 2014
Sarosh Mulla and his fabulous team of volunteers have spent the summer break erecting the Welcome Shelter at Longbush - a ground-breaking exercise in collaborative place-making. Heartfelt thanks to the sponsors, especially Karen and Graeme from the Chartwell Trust, who turned up on site to support the project; and the volunteers, especially Sarosh and Kathy, Tony and Rachel, Theo, Finn, Patrick and Mel, Dan, Johnno and everyone else who has made this such an exceptional project.
20 January 2014
Dr. Mark Smale of Landcare Research has written an excellent report on the botany of Longbush Ecosanctuary by landform, including the surrounding Protected Management Areas. He suggests an ecological zone in the area around the Ecosanctuary in the lower Waimata valley. What a great idea!
The Welcome Shelter at the Longbush Ecosanctuary is the brainchild of a remarkable young architect, Sarosh Mulla. Read all about the project here.
Our robin couple, whose courtship is described below, have produced two chicks. Dog Gully Guy now has a family! sFor the first time in 150 years, robin chicks are living in Turanga. Many thanks to the Williams Trust and the Eastern and Central Trust for making this possible.
Another flock of 10 titi took off from Longbush on their journey across the Pacific this Christmas. They are attracted by bright lights, but luckily, decided to ignore the Rhythm and Vines festival. Patsy Matthews did a brilliant job of looking after the chicks, and we're hoping that they will return to Longbush in three years' time, to establish an inland colony.
Sarosh Mulla, a PhD student in Architecture at the University of Auckland and a brilliant, award-winning young designer, is designing a Welcome Shelter for Longbush. Here he is with his first stash of models.
Christmas at Longbush this year was special, with long, hot blue days and bursts of rain - the plantings seemed to grow before our eyes! Ten titi chicks fledged, stretched their wings, and flew off across the Pacific. Kereru sat around in pairs, looking contented. The robins are thriving, and we hope to see babies in the bush before long. Many thanks to the Williams Trusts and the Eastern and Central Community Trust for their support of the robin project - they're endearing little birds.
Plans are afoot to introduce kiwi and weka to Longbush - watch this space.
Patsy Matthews from Ecoworks has been forwarding reports from the front line at Longbush, where a female native robin has just been released and teamed up with 'Dog Gully Guy,' a male robin who's been on his own since last season. Read all about it!
26 May 2012
A few nights ago, Patsy confirmed the presence of long-tailed bats in Longbush Reserve. As they flew around chasing moths, they clicked, using sonar to try and find their dinner. Have a listen!
4 May 2012
Recent flooding of the Waimata River caused the banks to collapse, and the river turned to liquid mud. As a result, our Chairperson Dame Anne wrote a plea to take care of the rivers in the Turanga district. This was published in the Gisborne Herald and attracted widespread support.
The amazing Ecoworks team have created a world first by establishing and successfully rearing the first inland colony of Titi (grey Petrels). These were translocated to burrows in the Petrel station erected by the team on the Longbush hills and 3 birds successfully fledged and took off for foreign parts. We look forward to seeing them back in about three years.
3 July 2011
We had an excellent meeting with Andy Bassett, head of the DOC office in Gisborne, to discuss Donner’s Bush, the DOC Scenic Reserve south of Longbush. Donner’s Bush is in bad shape, grazed by wandering stock and infested with weeds. The Trust is keen to restore it to its original beauty.
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