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Trelissick Park and Trelissick Park Group History
Trelissick Park occupies a pivotal position within the Kaiwharawhara catchment (stretching from Karori to Khandallah and down to the harbour), which has been recognised as a significant part of Wellington’s natural heritage, with spectacular natural features of the rocky gorge landscape and a diversity of species and habitat. It acts as a bird corridor between the Harbour and Otari/Wilton’s Bush, Huntleigh and Khandallah Parks. It contains areas of original forest remnant. It is an area of historic significance and protects the elements of land and forest essential to the Maori wairua or sense of well-being.
Between 1920-22, 11 hectares were acquired for the Park. Subsequent parcels were added, to bring the total to just over 20 hectares at present, excluding small areas of leased railway land.
The Park has suffered from a legacy of 19th century farming and sawmilling, upgrade work on adjoining roads/railway and on the sewer mains, railway corridor and garden weed escapes, as well as stream flooding, bank erosion, pollution and sedimentation.
In 1990 the Ngaio Progressive Association wrote to the City Council Mayor, drawing attention to the unique features of Trelissick Park in the Ngaio Gorge area – native forest, streams, topography, ecology and history - and expressing concern about its weeds and mess. In response, a Working Group was set up, comprising local community organisations from Wadestown, Highland Park and Ngaio, as well as Onslow Historical Society, Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society and Wellington Botanical Society. The aim was to work in conjunction with the City Council to further restore the area. The first meeting was on 17 June 1991. The Group was obviously very conscious of - and able to build upon - all the earlier restoration and track work undertaken by the three community organisations in earlier years, as well as submissions to Council. For example, this had included adoption of a 1982 Management Plan and strong (and successful) opposition to a Council proposal in the 1970s for a landfill/tip and major road in the valley.
The Trelissick Park Group have been working to periodic updates of its Five-Year Plan, in conjunction with the City Council’s 1982, then 1995 Trelissick Park Management Plan. Over the last 21 years, the Park has been transformed, with over 80,000 trees planted, large areas of weeds eradicated, new tracks and bridges built and possum bait stations/mustelid traps serviced. The Group are helped by local volunteers, bi-monthly working bees, an “adopt-a-spot” scheme and corporate volunteers, aided by funding from various organisations and individuals. Major projects are carried out by the City and Regional Councils.