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Home arrow Human Interest arrow Local arrow The power of one (after another)
The power of one (after another) PDF Print
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Human Interest - Local
Written by Dave Hansford, DoC   
Thursday, 24 April 2008

Mike Camm and Helen Moodie

You’d swear there was a fantail for every sandfly here beside Mike Camm’s dam – the spears of late sun are full of them. Beyond the thickets of raupo, the glossy, glassy water is ruffled only by the wake left by a flotilla of pateke, the rare brown teal. There are grey duck here too, and wait until the sun falls behind the rimu on the slopes beyond, and you’ll hear the primal boom of that swamp phantom, the bittern.

“Not bad for a hay paddock, eh?” offers Mike. This gem of a wetland was bulldozed during the 1970s, and filled in with money from a government farm development fund. When Mike bought the place, the first thing he did was put it back.

I was thinking of developing my own little national park here, as you do.

Putting things right has been a central philosophy ever since. “I bought this place eight years ago. I was thinking of developing my own little national park here, as you do.”

He knew that kiwi still survived on this 120 ha forest remnant near the Northland coastal settlement of Tutukaka, but he knew too, that within a few years they’d be gone – lost to the teeth and claws of stoats.

So he set to work, clearing lines for 170 Fenn traps. “I wasn’t starry-eyed about what I was getting into,” he recalls. “I knew that making a commitment to something like this had to be total; there’s not much room for anything else. If I were keen on going sailing every weekend, I wouldn’t have started this.”

For a few years, he worked the trap lines alone, “then, as I met my neighbours, I realised there was this common denominator”. One of the like minds, Nick Davies, started setting traps on his own property and helps Mike with his. The pair eventually became what Mike calls the nucleus of the Tutukaka Landcare Coalition “which sounds rather formal and boring”, he points out, “until you appreciate the acronym.”

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