Date: 23 April 2012
Lake Wanaka’s Mou Waho island weta population now have the choice of 5 star or backpacker style accommodation.
The Eco Wanaka Adventures (EWA) initiated project began with the placement last year of 4 modified logs ‘motels’ with viewing chambers above the island’s picnic area. These motels enable visitors to observe the inhabitants while providing darkness the rest of the time.
Recently, 40 monitoring ‘budget’ weta motels were installed around the island by Department of Conservation (DOC) staff assisted by EWA and eight students from Mt Aspiring College, who had built the units.
“It takes up to a year for weta to establish themselves into the ‘motels’”, advised DOC ranger, Flo Gaud. “Early indications were good although disturbance to the viewing units meant we only had short-stayers however long-term borders are anticipated in the next 12 months.
“We are very happy that the idea floated for these very unique weta motel concepts has, through the combined effort and expertise of Lee Eadie (EWA), Flo Gaud, and Warren Chinn (DOC), teacher Simon King and proactive students from MAC, have become a reality,” said Chris Riley, EWA director.
The units provide the island’s mountain stone weta population with protection from natural predators including the islands resident Buff Weka. The next stage of the project will be to monitor the occupancy of the motels.
“The professional result produced by the students- a workable and model design, built to perfection, is credit to all involved. Great to see the students place their own motels on Mou Waho with pride,” continued Chris.
This sentiment was echoed by Flo. “It’s a great way for students to understand the goals and the long term benefits of the project.”