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The History of the Prebbleton Nature Park
Though lush Canterbury vegetation is found here today, this site has not always been so beautiful. This site was known as Reserve 202 and in 1874 one double and one single cottage was erected to house immigrants who were required for labour work in the district. A public pound was established here in 1879. From 1865 to the 1920's the site was used as a shingle pit. From the 1950's to 1989 the pit was in-filled with rubbish. Shingle was again extracted in the 1970's. The area was then leased for grazing until 2002.
In 2003 neighbour, Michele Frey, presented a concept plan for a Native Plant Restoration project to the Selwyn District Council. Her vision was to restore the natural habitat and create a recreation area. The council approved the project and now a joint venture between the Selwyn District Council the Prebbleton Community Association and volunteers is progressing the restoration. The aim of the group is to grow native plants that would have been growing in this area prior to pioneer settlement.
When restoration efforts began, much of the site was covered in weeds such as gorse, broom, yarrow. Ryegrass, Cupressus macrocarpa, crack willow and elderberry were also prevalent. Magpies, spur winged plover and bellbirds were also observed in Reserve 202.
Volunteers and diggers cleared the weeds to make way for native plants. To date, over 7,000 plants have been planted on the site. Hardy plants such as tussock (poa cita), flax, toe toe, koromiko (hebe salicifolia), kanuka, matipo and cabbage trees were planted. As they have grown and created shelter for slower growing woodland species, kowhai, totara, kahikatea and lacebark (hoheria angustifolia) have been planted.
All plants are sourced locally from Canterbury seed sources with the goal of recreating a turely Canterbury landscape.