A sore knee meant that while others ventured into the native bush for track clearing duties, first-time volunteer Colin Binsted opted to stay close to the hut and help with chores in one of two Hauturu Supporters Trust Working Weekends this Spring. As thanks, was treated with the sight of two very rare and special kōkako, hopping across his sight line. Others in the field met tuatara – and saw kereru grazing on grassy flats. Everyone was woken early by the dawn chorus. “We did enjoy the opportunity to assist with the maintenance of this taonga, however small our contribution. We mainly focused on clearing the Hamilton track from the base up to the point of return – a combination of cutting, hacking, snipping and brute force. We then had the chance to continue on up for maybe another 100m of altitude before heading down to the start of the downhill via Valley. We did some work on the Shag and John Drew memorials on Sunday before heading back for pack up / tidy up,” says fellow volunteer Tim Armitage. The heavy-going work was achievable and enables easier access for others, including those monitoring and responding to pest incursions, to get deep into the forest on foot. “The ‘slasher’ tool proved invaluable for clearing soft plants from the sides of the track, but the other tools got a workout too,” says Karyn Hoksbergen. “We saw Kokako, Kaka, Hihi (Stitchbird), Tieke (Saddleback), Whiteheads, Bellbirds, many Kereru feeding on the ground, Tui, heard Long tailed cuckoo,Pateke (Brown teal), Pekapeka (Long tailed bat), unfortunately we all heard but did not see the elusive Kiwi. Nearly stood on a Tuatara, not once but twice, found a Wetapuna (Giant weta), saw Dolphins with a baby, seals and penguins” recalls Harriet Howe, volunteer worker Colin says he will take some fascinating learnings back to the community groups he works with on the mainland, including the importance of planting broadleaf, along with Kanuka and Manuka to create more diverse habitats. These pictures tell a thousand words Here is a photo album from the two weekends. Thank you to David Stone, Tim Armitage and Richard Griffiths for sharing their images.