News round-up from Cornwallis

New Cornwallis noticeboard.

New community noticeboard

Cornwallis Beach has a new community noticeboard – which was officially launched on a sunny Sunday afternoon in late April.

It is located at the southern end of the beach, on the grassy area above the Cornwallis Wharf car park. The noticeboard has been given the name “Te Karanga” or The Call – which was painted on by local resident Marie McNeil.

The noticeboard was proposed and planned by Cornwallis Community Resilience (CCR) – a relatively new group in the area, formed in 2023 in the wake of the damaging January storms in Auckland and February’s Cyclone Gabrielle.

The group – which has received some funding from Auckland Council’s Climate Action Grant to start its work – aims to grow and improve the local community’s resilience to damaging climate events, such as the storms. This includes developing a group of community volunteers and improving communication between Cornwallis households – even when events disrupt power and communication lines. The noticeboard is seen as small first step in this regard, providing focal point for people where none existed beforehand.

Members of the Cornwallis Community Resilience group with the newly constructed board.Speaking at the launch, Cordelia Locket of CCR says one outcome of their work so far is that more people know a wider group of other residents than ever before. “In times of desperation people have to resort to things like noticeboards for communication” but adds that it is not for commercial advertising.

A group of around 30 residents gathered for the launch, refreshments and to hear different local speakers discuss issues around climate change and sustainable living. The honour of cutting the noticeboard’s red ribbon went to long-term Cornwallis resident Pam, who has lived at the beach for over 40 years.

Also in attendance was Liz Manley from the Waitākere Ranges Local Board who says she and the board strongly support such community action and the need to consider the effects of climate change.

The site of the noticeboard was approved by Auckland Council, as it is located on regional park land, and confirmation of the final location was made by park ranger Gavin Bensemann. The board itself was constructed by local resident Heinz Ryter using some of the funds from the Climate Action Grant.

Members of CCR were also in touch with local iwi Te Kawerau ā Maki, who provided some text for the noticeboard, which will be added at a later date. The message features information about the te reo name for the peninsula, Karang- ā -Hape, or the place where Hape called out a greeting to people.


Heat map shows predator hot spots

cornwallis predator heat map

A new “heat map” has been produced to show the hot spots in the ongoing war against predator mammals at Cornwallis (Karanga ā Hape).

A control programme targeting rats, mice, stoats and possums has been running on the peninsula for over eight years now and was recently extended to include the land west of the Kakamatua Inlet.

The total area under control is 310 hectares, of which privately owned land and dwellings makes up just 10%.

In the last 12 months to 31 March 2023, they were1804 trap “hits”, of which it is estimated that:

  • 1671 were rats
  • 27 were stoats (including 4 weasels)
  • 79 were mice
  • 21 hedgehogs.

This compares with 1318 hits for the 12 months to 30 Sept 2022. The large increase can be credited to the increased number of traps now activated in the land west of the Kakamatua Inlet.

The heat map shows the key battleground areas, where trap activity is at its highest. Some activity is still being recorded at the southern tip of the peninsula on Puponga Point, the location of the grey-faced petrel colony, however control programme organisers believe the predator threat is under control there and petrel colony is now slowly growing.

With fewer rats, stoats and mice on the peninsula, invertebrates such as weta and the numerous bird species (including penguins and grey-faced petrels) that were once prolific in the area, are beginning a slow recovery. At least a third of local fledgling petrel chicks are estimated to make it through to adulthood, which is considered good for a land-based colony.

The control work is being carried out by local community group SCOW, which originally formed to “Save Cornwallis’ Old Wharf”, but now works to help maintain and upgrade assets throughout the peninsula. This includes helping with such issues as removing graffiti from the wharf, communicating with Auckland Council on stormwater drain clearance and lobbying for better footpaths along Cornwallis Road.

A sub-group of SCOW, known as the Petrelheads – due to its work in protecting the grey-faced petrel colony on the southern tip of the peninsula – is currently organises the control work, with generous financial support from The Trusts, the Waitākere Ranges Local Board and Auckland Council.

Alex Duncan of the Petrelheads says they are indebted to those people who regularly check trap lines each month or so, but they are also looking for more volunteers to help with this work. If you are interested, you can email for more information.

The Petrelheads work alongside a similar team in nearby Huia that is also doing predator control work. 

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