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Mainland Island Restoration Operation (MIRO)
Mainland Island Restoration Operation (MIRO) is a group of volunteers who work in partnership with Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC) to restore the forest and lakes ecosystem of the East Harbour Regional Park (EHRP). Central to this is the elimination of animal pests - possums, rats and stoats – within a Mainland Island of 300 hectare within the Northern Forest. Control of these predators will allow vulnerable flora and fauna to flourish again and allow the reintroduction of species lost to the Park. MIRO, in partnership with GWRC, carries out regular predator control to allow the restoration of the forest flora and fauna, and MIRO is beginning to see tangible rewards from this programme. With the successful control of pests, MIRO has translocated 68 North Island Robin to the Mainland Island of the Northern Forest Block. The robins were sourced from the Wanganui Conservancy (2008) and Kapiti Island (2011) with another translocation from Kapiti Island planned for 2012. The ongoing monitoring and banding of the Robins is now part of MIRO’s responsibility. More recently, propagation and planting of over 6,000 trees in the Parangarahu lakes block is speeding up the natural regeneration of the forest that will ultimately surround the lakes once again and ensure the ongoing health of the lakes freshwater ecosystems.
Northern Forest Block - 2000 hectares of lowland beech and broadleaf forest. Black and hard beech dominate the high ridges and spurs while the damp valley floors and gullies contain lush lowland forest including rimu, kahikatea, pukatea and nikau palms. Ancient rata forest is concentrated near Mt Hawtrey behind Days Bay, and stretches north along the western ridge. There is also a wide range of native orchids.
Northern Forest Block Valley Floor
Parangarahu Lakes Block and Baring Head- the steep hillsides and pasture of the Pencarrow Coast are slowly regenerating with manuka and kanuka starting to overtake the gorse. The dunes and ridges of the raised gravel beach support several threatened plant species such as leafless muehlenbeckia and sea holly. The lakes now support a rich succession of wetland vegetation, including oioi (jointed wire rush) and glasswort closer to the sea, and raupo, toetoe, flax and giant umbrella sedge further inland.
Lake Kohangatera of the Lakes Block
EHRP is a haven for birdlife in the Wellington Region with over 50 species found there. These include regionally rare species such as tomtit, rifleman, whitehead, kakariki, falcon, banded dotterel and grey duck. The Park is also home to a wide range of other native fauna of regional importance such as the green gecko, copper skink, giant kokupu, the land snail wainuia urnula and peripatus.
The three distinct locations of the East Harbour Regional Park
The Northern Forest Block is located in the hills between Eastbourne and Wainuiomata.
Baring Head is at the south end of the Wainuiomata Coastal Road.
The Parangarahu Lakes Block is located on the Pencarrow Coast south of Eastbourne.
Also GNS Science has made land available to MIRO for a tree nursery in Gracefield, Lower Hutt.