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.


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.




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