(Hamilton Junior Naturalist Club)


LODGE HISTORY
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Hamilton Junior Naturalist Club (Junats) owes its formation to Mr Pat Devlin who in the 1960’s was the science advisor to the South Auckland Education Board, and Mr Lyn Peart – senior science teacher at Hamilton Teachers College. The Club was formed on April 7th 1961. Its initial aims were to provide an opportunity for young people to further their knowledge and enjoyment of NZ natural history, together with concepts of conservation by way of regular weekly meetings along with field trips and camps.

Following the donation of land by Doug and Ngaire Anderson, construction of the first lodge buildings began in 1962. Ongoing development and improvement of the lodge continues to the present day.

In addition to regular camps at Te Kauri Park, the club has a long tradition of away camps and trips to many parts of NZ. Included among these have been such locations as Mayor Island, Little Barrier Island, Urewera, Rangitoto Island, Cape Kidnappers, and tours of the North and South Island to name but a few.

From Te Kauri, the club has conducted a range of studies and research programmes which have included studies of the rare kokako, studies of the park’s flora and fauna, including land snails, birds, introduced mammals, fresh water ecology. These studies have also extended to the nearby Kawhia and Aotea Harbours to include the extensive fossil deposits and marine fauna, both current and past (shell middens).

During the course of the club’s operations at Te Kauri a number of notable discoveries have been made by members. These include two of the North Island fossil penguins, the remains of more than one fossil whale and an ancient Maori stone sculpture identified as a lost taonga of Tainui, not to mention a new species of Hebe along with other important botanical finds.

In 2001, the club celebrated 40 years of operations and it is still the foremost Junior Naturalist Club in the country. A major factor in the club’s longevity and success has been that it has its own “home” at Te Kauri Lodge.
1961April 7th. Foundation of the Hamilton Junior Naturalist Club at a meeting arranged by Pat Devlin for interested parents and children
1961June. Display put up at a show for the NZ Royal Society – put the Club in the public eye for the first time
1962Club’s first camp held at Port Waikato
1962Land on which Te Kauri Lodge now stands is donated by Doug and Ngaire Anderson
196241 acres of the donated Anderson land handed over to the Department of Lands and Survey to become Te Kauri Scenic Reserve.
1962Special Inaugural Meeting – Club became an incorporated society
1962First building constructed – the Ablution Block/Laundry
1963irst camp at Te Kauri – under canvas
1963Donation from the Hamilton Rotary Club provided for the construction of the Dining/Kitchen block
1963Golden Kawaka found in Te Kauri Park giving the ridge on which it was found its name (Kawaka Ridge)
1964Two spotless crakes from and endangered population near Pirongia captured in a joint effort by Hamilton Junior Naturalist Club and NZ Wildlife Service and released in Te Kauri Park
196?New species of hebe found on Hauturukanakeneke
1965Dormitory block with basement constructed.
1966First trip to Mayor Island
196?Construction of first goat exclosure on Kawaka Ridge
1966Kokako rediscovered in Te kauri Park/Oparau area – 50 years since previous sighting
1966Junats first to record nesting of North Island kokako from eggs to hatching and feeding of chicks.
1968Coral Cave and Tahuraiti Cave explored
1970First publication of “Te Kauri”, the HJNC Journal
1970Second study of native land snails in Te Kaur and surrounding regions – 4 further species recorded
1970August. Te kauri pengion discosvered by ex-Junats leading a club trip
1973Junat Sue Pullon wins ‘Young Conservator of the Year’
1980Completion of the study of Maori middens with recordings made at 36 sites around the Kawhia Harbour
1982Junat Peter de Lange wins ‘Young Conservator of the Year’
198?Discovery of Mata Atua on the shore of Kawhia Harbour – lost taonga of Tainui
198?Discovery of the ‘Erebor’ cave system – believed to be the largest cave system in the region.
1986Hamilton Junior Naturalist Club 25th Jubilee Reunion
1987Excavate NZ’s fourth most complete moa skeleton
1990In-depth study of Kawhia shellfish species distribution by ?????? with the assistance of parents and other club members
200140th Anniversary Reunion
2002Renowned Enlish botanist Dr David Ballamy visits Te Kauri to launch the Te Kauri Park Scenic Reserve ecological restoration project
2004Te Kauri Waikuku Trust set up by Junats to manage the forest restoration project and the schools environmental education programme at Te Kauri Lodge. The Trust is a partnership between Junats, Department of Conservation, Ngati Hikairo Enviroschools Foundation,
200?Kanukanui cave discovered in Muturangi Valley
2006Fossil giant penguin found by Junats in a field trip at Te Waitere – now on display at Waikato museum.
2006Junats win Harold Wellman Prize for the most outstanding fossil find of the year
2008/10Club Museum completely rebuilt in basement.


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