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30 mins by ferry from downtown Auckland, Motutapu Island is one of the jewels in the Inner Hauraki Gulf. Farmed since the 1860's most of the original vegetation was stripped for pasture leaving only remnant pockets of native species along the coastline and in deep valleys. The island's geological origins are Jurassic being approximately 165 million years old and it is joined by causeway to Rangitoto a mere 600 year old volcano consisting of lava fields.
Nga Manu Trust administers Nga Manu Nature Reserve which in turn preserves the largest remnant of Coastal Lowland Swamp Forest left on the Kapiti Coast. The trust promotes conservation education, research and involvement in recovery programs for our native flora and fauna.
We use the term ‘representative’ because there are limitations to full restoration, such as species that have since become extinct and exotic species that cannot be controlled or excluded. The context in which we are working has also irreversibly changed. What was once part of a vast unbroken ecosystem is now essentially a 225ha island surrounded by suburbs and scrubland.
Restoration of Pauatahnui Reserve and adjacent Forest and Bird Reserve wetland and wetland margin flora and enhancement of wildlife habitat.
Herbert Guthrie-Smith was a remarkable New Zealander. Born in Scotland in 1861 he immigrated to NZ in 1880, and in 1882 commenced developing a 20,000 hectare property at Tutira in Hawke's Bay. During his lifetime he experienced the highs and lows of pastoral farming, and in the process observed and meticulously recorded every feature of his land and how it changed as a result of his farming activities. He became a committed conservationist.
The plants, as far as we know, are native to this area. There are over 7,000 plants made of from about 100 species.
As the plants are becoming established bird numbers are increasing and we are encouraging other wild life.
The 6.8 ha Kaitawa Reserve is situated in the valley of the Wharemauku Stream, east of SH1, at Paraparaumu. Riwai Street divides the scenic/ recreation reserve into two parts, with a mix of open space, forest remnants, and areas of re-vegetation dissected by meandering streams.
Wellington Botanical Society have described it in this way:
“It is a significant remnant coastal wetland ecosystem, representative of the many which have been destroyed throughout the region in modern times. We were very impressed with the range of species hanging on in there …..” More