Welcome to the Waikereru 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.

Waikereru 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.

Waikereru 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.

Harriers test track upgrades

Many thanks to the Eastland Community Trust for funding an upgrade to our signage and the tracks around the Welcome Shelter. The Gisborne Harriers immediately put the tracks to good use, having a fantastic day at Waikereru.

Hawkes Bay DOC visit

Pete and Elle Jarratt talking about the Wild Lab with our visitors from Hawkes Bay DOC & Cape to City.

1769 Garden update

The 1769 Garden is only a couple of years old, but its starting to look great. It was fun showing the place to a party from Hawkes Bay DOC and Cape to City, and Air New Zealand Environment Trust trustees this week.

Torrent Fish in Waimata River

How exciting. A torrent fish has just been discovered in the Waimata River by the Gisborne District Council science team - the first of its kind in the catchment. It's an envoy, telling all the humans to get cracking with the restoration of the Waimata.

Ruru at Waitui Bridge

Steve and Tim Salmond were standing on the Waitui bridge at midday when this ruru flew under the bridge and perched on a nearby tree. We think it's a young ruru that our neighbours found on the roadside with an infected eye. They took it home, treated it and fed it, then released it in Longbush. This may be why the bird was flying during the day, and is unafraid of people.

Longbush Ecological Trust AGM

Guess who attended the Longbush Ecological Trust AGM last week? Our most ancient member, Kura the Tuatara.

Donner's Bush Restoration Update

What a team! EIT and YMCA students have restored another long stretch of Donner's Bush. Great to see the weeds disappearing and the ground cover and lower canopy returning.

Our Changing World: The 1769 Garden

Another story about Waikereru Ecosanctuary / Longbush and the fabulous people who help us to make it such a special place.

Our Changing World: The 1769 Garden

In her narration, the wonderful Alison Ballance from 'Our Changing World' speaks about 2019 as a 'celebration' of Cook's arrival - in Tairawhiti we talk about a 'commemoration' instead, because those first encounters were not all sweetness and light!

The collaboration between Philip Smith (02 Landscapes), Graeme Atkins (DOC, Ngati Porou) and Malcolm Rutherford (QEII, curator) in creating the 1769 Garden is awesome - ka mau ke te wehi!

Visit by DOC Director-General

We've had an exciting time at Waikereru lately, with a visit by Lou Sanson, Director-General of the Department of Conservation. He took this photo of Charles Barrie and Philip Smith in the 1769 Garden.

Wild Lab Workshop at the 1769 Garden

Great to see Pete and Elle work their magic in another Wild Lab workshop, this time inspiring local children to engage with the plants in the 1769 Garden.

The head teacher's comments?: " I haven't been there before, the location was perfect. The combo of site and people was amazing. They are kids of heart and the inner kids came out in them."

Queen Elizabeth II Trust's 40th birthday at Waikereru

Such a pleasure to host QEII's 40th birthday party at the Welcome Shelter, along with many other covenant owners. The 1769 Garden and the Welcome Shelter are looking amazing - thanks to Philip Smith, Graeme Atkins, Malcolm Rutherford and Sarosh Mulla.

Radio Interview with Anne and Jeremy

We're changing our name!

The trustees have decided to change the name of the Ecosanctuary to its original name, Waikereru. The Kereru is our guardian bird, which features on our seal, so that stays the same.

The riverside bush will still be called Longbush - the name its long been known by in the district - including when we were kids. Since the Ecosanctuary is a haven for native plants, birds and other animals, this name change seems appropriate. We'll always honour the full history of the site, though, and the Longbush name for the riverside bush.


Longbush Poplars

After losing a massive Poplar at Longbush, it's humbling (and slightly worrying) to gaze up at the survivors as they negotiate their personal space and deal with externalities such as wind.


David Bergin from Trees that Count visits Longbush

Great to host David and Susan Bergin at Longbush, to discuss the possibility of setting up a trial native plantation at Longbush. An exciting prospect.

Kids' art in Longbush

Pete and Elle Jarratt work their magic with kids, art and the bush. A great art exhibition in Longbush Reserve!

Artefact at Longbush

Fantastic fun having the Artefact documentary team shooting at Longbush - with Janine Te Reo and her students at the Pa Harakeke / Rene Orchiston collection.

Pa Hill footbridge

Clearing the site for the new bridge at the foot of Pa Hill, watched by two curious tomtits - male and female. Looking forward to clutches of baby tomtits at Longbush.

Poplar Uprising

Nature takes its course... of course. A poplar gives up the ghost at Longbush - a harbinger of things to come? These trees are showing signs of age and we’re contemplating replacing them with native species selected for ultimate harvesting. This will be a potentially important source of funds for the Trust (in about 70 years) – we can’t wait…

Taking care of the Waimata River

Its great to be working with local researchers Sheridan Gundry, Murray Palmer and Mike Marden, and University of Auckland scientists Dan Hikuroa, Carola Cullum and Gary Brierley on the life history of the Waimata river.

We've learned a lot, with many community members adding their knowledge and insights to the story. We want to work with the wider community to find ways of taking care of the river, to ensure that it stays in good heart for future generations.

Gisborne Herald article:
Charting the Waimata’s many voices

Conservation boards visit

It was great to welcome the East Coast and Chatham Island Conservation Boards to Longbush lately, including some old friends. Such an enjoyable visit.

Gisborne Herald article:
Chatham Island conservationists learn lessons from Tairawhiti

Its Oi time again at Longbush

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.

Wild Lab hits town

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.

Gisborne Herald Article: The Oi and the Koura

Botanical Bling

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.

Donner's Bush comes back to life

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.

Getting their rocks on at the 1769 Garden

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.

Read the Gisborne Herald article here


More fun at Longbush

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.


Welcome to Longbush

Check out Ian Ruru's fabulous drone video of Longbush!


A New Year at Longbush 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.


Snowy Hills

Check out the Longbush Alphine Resort - cottage and hills in snow! First time in decades. Ski lift coming soon. (Courtesy Colin McNab)

1769 Garden Planting Starts

Philip Smith (landscape designer) and Malcolm Rutherford (QEII) chat as planting of the 1769 Garden gets under way in early June.

Kiwi Courtship

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.

The 1769 Garden is coming!

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.

Welcome Shelter Open!

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/

Welcome to the Welcome Shelter

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

The Bridge Club

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.

Read more about the bridge in this report.

Tomtit at Longbush

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.

Freshwater survey report

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!

A bridge in the bush

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.

Welcome Shelter Update

Hi Everyone,

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 of the openings in the building have now been prepared to take our beautiful timber joinery from Nicks Joinery. This cedar and rosewood joinery will be stained a deep red colour, the same red as the seed capsule that sits in the centre of the flowers of the manuka. Winter planting has also been in full flight at Longbush, with a 1000 trees being planted in the past week throughout the ecosanctuary.

On a different note, I recently had the pleasure of presenting the project to the judges of the Interior Awards. The project is at the core of a nomination for the Emerging Designer of the Year award at this years Interior Awards. The awards will be announced later this month. At the heart of my presentation was the unusual quality of what we are doing with this project. Never before has such a diverse range of partners come together to create a piece of public architecture in New Zealand.

All the very best,
Sarosh Mulla

Earth to Longbush

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.

Welcome Shelter update

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.

Listen to Sarosh talking about the Welcome Shelter and how he dreamed up this project on National Radio.

Architecture Now coverage:
Volunteers help keep project on track
Welcome Shelter on track
Welcome Shelter jumps the first hurdle
Welcome to Longbush

The Welcome Shelter

Landcare botany report

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!

Introducing the Welcome Shelter!

The Welcome Shelter at the Longbush Ecosanctuary is the brainchild of a remarkable young architect, Sarosh Mulla. Read all about the project here.

The Welcome Shelter

After 150 years, robin chicks at Longbush

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.

The Flight of the Titi

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.
See the attached report.

Welcome Shelter / Workers' Shed

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

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.

Hot News from Longbush - a Robin Courtship

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!

Bat Chat

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!

The Waimata turns to a river of mud

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.

Massive collapsing of riparian terraces along the Waimata river

World first at Longbush

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.
The colony recreates what was once a naturally occurring habitat for these seabirds, and is the first ever to be established away from a coastal site.

Tyler the Titi contemplates his OE

Donner’s Bush

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.

DoC reasserts itself in a forgotten landscape along the Waimata river

North Islan Robin Tyler the Titi (Petrel)
Kereru (Wood Pigeon) Tui
Bellbird Fantail
Kotare (Kingfisher) Ruru (Native Owl)
Karearea (NZ Falcon)
Popkotea (Whitehead) Long-tailed Bat
Miromiro (Tomtit) Pipiwharauroa (Shining Cuckoo)

Mere's Karanga