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Restoration plan

Date:  November 2010 

Site description:

Mostly NZTA motorway land, but with a mix of other tenures – WCC road reserve, unallocated Crown land, Clifton Terrace School land, and private land – forming the edges of the Tokyo walkway, Clifton Terrace and San Sebastian Street.

 Vision Statement:

The walkway and adjacent streets are surrounded by native vegetation, and are a much loved walking route between the city and Kelburn.  Users have the chance to experience a wide range of indigenous species.

 Site assessment:

Physical state:

Much of the land was cleared to bedrock by Transit when the motorway was built in the 1970s.  It was then planted in acacia which are now mature and a problem.  There are a few remains of attempts at revegetation with “natives”, which include species such as karo, pseudopanax hybrids, etc.  Most is infected with tradescantia and other serious weeds.

 Most of the site is very steep, and very dry.  There are a few areas with springs that are almost permanently wet.  There are two small flat patches – the school carpark and Clifton Terrace edge, and the “podocarp grove” site.

 There is one moderately large area of original soils and a few other tiny patches.  These have native earthworms and there is at least one population of ground weta in Clifton Terrace.

 The nearest indigenous remnant is the forest in the botanic gardens.  This is the best indicator of what the site should be like.


The walkways and roads carry large numbers of commuter and recreational walkers.  It provides a useful but hard to navigate connection from the city to the Botanic Gardens, and to the university.

 The attractiveness of the area is adversely affected by motorway noise.  With a lack of lighting on the walkway and some areas appearing unsafe, use at night is almost non-existent, and some potential users are reluctant to use it during the day (particularly the Woodward steps).  There is a problem with tagging, and the area is used for sleeping by homeless men, which makes the area seem unsafe for some users.

 Threat analysis

Ecological threats

The acacia impede any natural regeneration and make survival of planted plants difficult. 

 As well as extensive tradescantia, there are a number of significant weeds that derive from the gardens that were taken over by Transit (e.g. Canterbury bells).  Grass is a serious competitor in cleared areas, adding to drought problems.

 Most animal pests are probably controlled by the Botanic Gardens operations, but there are mice and rats near the buildings (no rodent nests or sign have been found except at the edges of the site, so the extent of occupation is not known).  There are local cats frequently observed on the site.

 Management issues

WCC oversees the project, subject to their agreement with NZTA.  The walkway clearance work by the council has created significant problems for the project.  NZTA have refused to put any money into land management that isn’t related to the motorway operation, and are a barrier to some actions such as acacia clearance.

 There is an informal agreement with school on the development of their land.  They want a wide range of native species, not just from Wellington, for education purposes.  They are keen to have a herb/fruit garden in the carpark.

 There is a formal agreement with one adjacent private landowner to manage the slip at the back of their rental property. 

 The future of the unallocated Crown land behind Clifton Terrace/San Sebastian is unresolved. Part is leased by the school as a carpark. There is almost no active management by LINZ.  Boundaries of land titles are difficult to identify on the ground.

 There are constant thefts of logs from the area. There has been significant rubbish dumping in the past, but this has reduced where the areas have been cleaned.  The homeless users also create rubbish, but are generally now using the bin the council has provided. There is toilet waste at the sites they use.  Taggers are causing plant damage.

There is significant support for the project from adjoining residents, but little active involvement.  Most residents who have expressed an interest either have large gardens or weekend cottages where they are doing restoration themselves, and we do not wish to divert our effort to running a committee.


Physical condition

  • The core area is dominated by eco-sourced indigenous forest species, and actively recovering.
  • A podocarp forest is developing on the wet flat.
  • The school is surrounded by a wide range of NZ plants, which are labelled and used for education.
  • There are some rare and interesting plants along the walkway, labelled, to educate commuters.  This may be an outreach of the Botanic Gardens.
  • The area supports common native bird and lizard species, including tui, fantail, warbler, common skink. Zelandia birds are increasingly visiting.
  • The relict invertebrate populations (stick insect, ground weta, giant earthworm) are healthy and expanding.
  • A wide range of invertebrate and non-vascular plant species are present and expanding their range.


  • Serious weeds have been eradicated and residual weeds are not impeding natural indigenous recovery.
  • Rats and other animal pests are controlled.
  • The council has an operating system that ensures that work they do on the walkway and roads helps rather than damages the project.  The project has created a walkway edge that is easy to manage to meet NZTA requirements.
  • People damage to the area (rubbish dumping, tagging, homeless toileting, poorly directed management, etc) has been reduced or eradicated by the creation of a pleasant environment, increased public use, volunteer activities, and council activities.
  • The UCL has been legally protected, and some of the NZTA land added to the town belt.

Amenity and use

  • Motorway noise has been ameliorated.
  • The area is fully connected to the surroundings, with signage and promotion encouraging use.
  • There is a path through the podocarp grove and seating along the walkway, and some users are stopping and enjoying the biota.


 Walkway/road edge

 By the end of 2015 the walkway edge has well established, low vegetation coverage, and WCC has agreed to stop weedeating/spraying.

 Bolton Street above walkway

 By the end of 2011 we have agreement on whether a rare plants/museum area will be established.

 By the end of 2012 the acacias have been removed or reduced and all main plantings in place.

 Bolton Street below walkway

 Agreement on the area that is within the project (done).

 By the end of 2013 the acacias have been removed or reduced, tradescantia largely eradicated, and all main plantings in place.

 Podocarp grove

All the large trees have been planted and are well established, providing a mix of podocarps and appropriate hardwoods. (done)

 By the end of 2011 the persistent weeds (tradescantia, Canterbury bells, etc) have been eradicated or are well under control.

 By the end of 2010 the area around the ditch has been fully planted, is relatively weed free, and well mulched.

 By the end of 2010 the area around the lower entrance has been fully planted, is relatively weed free, and well mulched.

 By the end of 2011 the rest of the area planted in podocarps has been fully planted, is relatively weed free, and well mulched.

 By the end of 2015 the cupressus, camellia and karo have been replaced.

 By 2020 the path area has been made into a pleasant and dry walking route, there are seats installed, and a bird feeder.

 Between podocarp grove and AT bridge above walkway

 By the end of 2012 persistent weeds eradicated.

 By the end of 2011 any additional large trees planted.

 Between steps and Cable car, below walkway

 By the end of 2012 the MOU has been amended to include the excluded areas.

 Aurora Terrace Corner

 Acacias removed. (done)

 Main plantings in cleared area. (done)

 Between corner and shelters

 Acacias removed. (done).

 By the end of 2011 tradescantia, buddleia and other major weeds mostly gone.

 By the end of 2011 any trees that will be removed are gone (pohutukawa etc).

 By the end of 2011 any supplementary tree planting done.

 School bush

 By the end of the 2011 planting season the bush area has been weeded, terraced and planted.

 Between walkways

 By the end of 2012 the area north of the shelters has been cleaned and terraced and planted.

 By the end of 2010 the top terrace has been planted and major weeds removed.

 By the end of 2011 the bottom terrace has been cleared and planted.

 By the end of 2012 the unterraced cliff has been cleared and planted.

 By the end of 2011 the persistent weeds on the south portion have been removed.

 School bank

 By the end of the 2011 planting season all the gaps in the planting have been filled.

 By the end of 2012 the soil has been sufficiently improved to allow the plantings to be showing good growth rates.


 By the end of 2011 the tagging damage problem and the erosion risk problem have both been solved.

 By the end of 2013 there is a well established shrub/tree edge by the walkway, and the slip is fully covered by flax.

 Clifton Terrace Station

 By the end of 2012 the area around the station has been cleaned and planted.

 School carpark/UCL

 By the end of 2010 the eastern side has been fully planted in trees and shrubs which are well established.

 By the end of 2010 the entrance has been fully planted, weeded and mulched.

 By the end of 2011 the western side of the carpark has been turned into a herb/fruit garden, and the persistent weeds are under control.

 By the end of 2012 the edge of the UCL road has a row of large trees planted and established.

 Clifton terrace flat

 By the end of 2011 all the main trees/shrub plantings are complete and gorse/pampas is under control.

 By the end of 2020 all the pine trees have been removed.

 San Sebastian

 By the end of 2011 tradescantia has been largely eradicated from the corner and bank.

 By the end of 2010 a long term planting/tree removal/erosion plan has been agreed with the council.

 By the end of 2011 planting has been done.

 Pest control

 By the end of 2015 pest control is in place.

 Invertebrates/fungi/non-vascular plants

 By the end of 2011 a bryophyte survey has been completed and a list of species that should be there has been compiled.  Introductions have started.

 By the end of 2014 an invertebrate survey and restoration plan have been completed.

 By the end of 2014 a fungi survey and restoration plan have been completed.

 By the end of 2020 a bioblitz has been undertaken in the area.

 Use facilitation

 By the end of 2011 the council has implemented stencilled routes to the Botanic Gardens.

 Before the Rugby World Cup the council has published a route guide showing walking routes around that part of the city.

 By the end of 2014 lighting is in place at least for Clifton to James Cook and Clifton to Woodward.

 By the end of 2012 there are some additional seats along the walkway.

 By the end of 2015 the council has a tourism movement plan covering Parliament/Tinakori/Kelburn/Tokyo/Cable Car.

 By the end of 2015 methods to increase people’s awareness of invertebrates, lizards, etc have been devised.