News Archive - 2010

End of year picnic - 27 November 2010

2010 end of year picnic

At the end of year picnic held for our members and supporters, Chairman of Friends of Maara Roa, Keith Nicoll congratulated Neil Bellingham on his being awarded the ENCORE Community Leadership Award.

However, we all had a laugh when Neil, instead of just taking the handshake, dropped down on his knees to be "knighted" on the spot!

'Cultivating Kids' - 25 November 2010

Cultivating Kids - Paremata Playcentre

Cultivating Kids - Paremata Playcentre
[Kapi-Mana News article - 14 December 2010]

We had lots of fun with our very last planting for the year, and hope the kids (and their parents) did, too. 

We were joined by a pre-school group from Paremata Playcenter to plant near the Kowhai Grove.

Read the article in the Kapi-Mana News, 14 December 2010.

Neil Bellingham receives the Encore Community Leadership Award - 17 November 2010

The Friends of Maara Roa are proud to announce that at the ceremony at Parliament on Wednesday 17th November, Neil Bellingham was declared co-winner of this year's environmental Leadership Award.

The Encore Awards are an annual event held jointly by the Department of Conservation (Wellington Conservancy), the Hawkes Bay Conservation Board, and Greater Wellington's Regional Council.

They honour outstanding voluntary groups, businesses, schools and individuals engaged in the conservation of the natural landscape and the built heritage of this region.

Read why we nominated Neil.

Press release from DOC: Encore Awards winners challenged to spread the word.
The full list of winners is also given.

Rotorua Seventh Day Adventist School students - 4 November 2010

A cheery group of student planters (aged 11 - 12 years old) with 4 teachers/parents, spent an hour and a half with Neil and Juliet planting around the trackside and in sheltered spots at the bottom of the 'Gut Buster'.

Some attractive trees were provided by Keep Porirua Beautiful (KPB) as our own have mostly been planted.

The kids had fun and did a good job.  Our warmest thanks to the young planters and their teachers, and to KPB.

ICONZ, Plimmerton Presbyterian Church - 1 November 2010

ICONZ boys from Plimmerton Presbyterian Church

ICONZ boys from Plimmerton Presbyterian Church
[Larger image]

In the early evening of Monday, 1 November, ICONZ, a group from Plimmerton Presbyterian Church, came on a visit to the area.  It was a group of lads, aged 7 - 9, with 2 adult leaders.

In the short time available before dark they were given a guided walk by Sylvia and Neil as far as the Rata Clearing, then an activity seeing how many trees they could identify by finding plaques from the Nature Walk and writing down the Maori names.

The highest result was 6 found, which was pretty good considering the grass growth in the nearby area, and our instruction to them not to go beyond 'whistle-call' distance in the bush.

Sylvia then conducted short devotions and the group literally ran back down to their cars at the Entrance.

It is encouraging to have teachers and leaders like these bringing children to enjoy the bush - most of the young ones have never been in the Park before, and some have never been in any native bush area at all.  They find it really exciting.

ANZ National Bank - Planting for the future

Source: Volunteer Wellington - Employees in the Community
(PDF magazine)

Wonderful help from Volunteers - 20 October 2010

After a slow start due to miserable weather, our planting season has been going well.

Corrections - cleared the dead gorse and planted

Corrections - cleared the dead gorse and planted

Our regular planters have been joined by volunteer groups on several occasions, and this has meant planting has gone ahead in leaps and bounds.

We are very thankful for the enthusiastic efforts of the following groups –

  • God's Earth Our Home Group from Pauatahanui
  • ANZ Wellington group
  • Soul Active Day involving local Youth Groups helping the community
  • Porirua College students
  • Corrections

Having 2000 holes pre-dug for our planters this season has been a great time saver and speeded up our planting rate.

Latest estimates indicate we have planted over 4000 trees this season, and have about 500 still to plant in October.

We also hope to finish the year by planting some flax with local weavers along the stream sides.

2010 marks 20 years since John Hodges started planting flax along the Maara Roa Stream with his students from Brandon Intermediate - an achievement well worth celebrating!

Transmission Gully Motorway Plans - 9 October 2010

Route of new motorway

Route of Transmission Gully - Feb 2010.

[Larger image]

Today, three of the Friends went to the first of 4 "Information Days" which the planners of the future State Highway 1 (Wellington to Auckland), which we call Transmission Gully Motorway, have opened to the public in this part of the region.

We were very impressed by all the information, maps, diagrams of bridges, interchanges where we'll get access on to the motorway, and even a "movie" to take you on a "flyover" of the whole route, shown on a smart computer screen.

Most of all, we were impressed by the number of staff from the NZ Transport Agency present to talk to us, explain the whole thing, answer questions and be generally helpful.  Considering that about 30 people were there coming and going at Pauatahanui School while we 3 were there, it was great to have so many knowledgeable experts who could also communicate with us so well.

As you know, the Motorway route goes right through our restoration area.

We were able to see exactly where it does this, how it crosses Cannons Creek, what the big bridge will look like (it will be 270m long), and what they will do to prevent any damage to the stream and the bush in our Valley.

Planning is now getting to be quite detailed and after all the talk for the last umpteen years, this new highway looks like it is going to become a reality before long, and most of us will see it happening.

The Motorway will have a dramatic impact on Cannons Creek and also on Duck Creek, in their respective Belmont Regional Park sections.  What was shown is the best information we have yet been given.

As the Consents for this work are yet to be given [applications are due to be lodged in March 2011], it is in this period that we the public have our best opportunity to comment.

We have already learnt what the engineers do to prevent toxins from the motorway getting into the streams, what the big bridge over Cannons Creek will look like, how extensive the "cut and fill" work will be in our Takapu Conservation Covenant, and whether we can hope for a walking track in the bush up the stream and under the big bridge between the Takapu Park Entrance, to connect to existing tracks lower down.... the guy who considered that said, yes, that could well be done. 

Another chap answered the question, "What happens during the construction period to prevent lots of sediment from going downstream and ending up in the Lakes Reserve and the Harbour?"  Answer:  "That's a long story.  Would you like me to come and meet your group and talk about it?"  (Would we what!  Now we just have to organise that meeting!)  We really now have something to chew on!

See also: NZTA page on Transmission Gully project

Maara Roa Bush Restoration celebrates 10 Years - 18 September 2010

(L - R) Winnie Laban, Jenny Brash, Barbara Donaldson, as Toa Waaka (Ngatitoa kaumatua) gives the blessing at the Kowhai Grove

(L - R) Winnie Laban, Jenny Brash, Barbara Donaldson, as Toa Waaka (Ngatitoa kaumatua) gives the blessing at the Kowhai Grove

More photos can be viewed in the Photo Gallery

The Friends of Maara Roa were commended by Luamanuvao Winnie Laban, MP for Mana, and Porirua Mayor Jenny Brash, when they spoke at the 10th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, 18th September.

Despite a cold start to the day, more than 60 people attended the programme, which included the unveiling and blessing of a plaque at the Kowhai Grove in the Cannons Creek Lakes Reserve.  The kowhai in the grove were donated and planted there when the project began in June 2000.  Now flowering well and visited by birds, they represent the restoration of native forest being achieved in the valley above, which is part of Belmont Regional Park.

Regional Councillor Peter Glensor welcomed everyone, and after the speakers, Toa Waaka of Ngatitoa gave the Blessing, and the plaque was unveiled by the Mayor and the Member of Parliament (who is Patron of the Friends of Maara Roa). 

Following morning tea, visitors joined with Friends to see the new Nature Walk, while others took part in tree-planting.

Lunch was provided by Greater Wellington and the Friends, and the activities continued in fine sunny weather till 4 pm.

The Friends intend to continue the restoration work (clearing, planting, pest control and assisting the nursery at Porirua College) into the future, with the help of Greater Wellington.

As more people visit the valley, and come to realise the value of the bush there as well as the views, the Friends are sure that volunteers will give their time and enjoy an increasing contribution to the environment of this part of northern Wellington and Porirua cities.

September planting - 8 September 2010

God's Earth Our Home

God's Earth Our Home
[Larger image]

Over the last two weekends (28 August and 4 & 5 September), we have planted about 750 more seedlings.

Reasonable weather including two beautiful sunny days, helped make up for being rained out so many times earlier in the planting season.

The pre-dug holes have made a huge difference to the number of trees we have been able to plant in a day.

On Sunday 5 September, a big group of enthusiastic volunteers called God's Earth Our Home from Pauatahanui parish did a great job, and with our regular planters, helped push our total up.

We are getting through the pre-dug holes, but there are 800 or so left.

We have planted large numbers of colonising species like karamu and mahoe that are hardy and quick growing; also our only exotic (non-native) tree, tree lucerne, which provides quick growing shelter and attracts birds.

We are now planting some dominant trees like totara, rewarewa, kohekohe and kahikatea in places where we think they will do well.

We also have healthy matai, horoeka (lancewood) and kohekohe that have been nurtured at home by enthusiast Andrew Jinks.

So biodiversity in Maara Roa Valley is improving all the time.

However, another load of plants from Porirua City Council Nursery will be shifted up to our planting area soon, so we still have plenty to do.

Submission to GW re new Regional Parks Network Management Plan - 24 August 2010

Greater Wellington Parks Network Plan - Draft

Greater Wellington Parks
Network Plan - Draft

Back in June this year, a number of Friends took part in meetings to hear about and discuss the GWRC's new Parks Management 10-year Plan.  This Plan covers all Regional Parks including Belmont.

Submissions on this plan were called for, and scheduled for hearing in August.

The Submission from the Friends of Maara Roa was presented on Tuesday 24 August 2010.

Bush Corridor Steering Group - 24 August 2010

In April this year our Committee approved the formation of a working group to look at the possibility of beginning on the restoration of the headwaters of Cannons Creek, i.e. the valley above Takapu Road entrance to Belmont Regional Park.

This is a steep-sided valley, currently grazing land, with no trees except in a patch near the top.

The stream is unprotected from stock. 

A perched-culvert blocks stream life and exacerbates erosion downstream, causing slips and collapsing banks right down the gorge; and in 2003-4 huge deposits of rubble and sediment were swept down into the Lakes Reserve, turning the upper lake into a muddy creekbed.

Creating a bush corridor at the top of Cannons Creek, to join our existing bush area right over the top of the valley to the Korokoro bush on the other side, would inhibit this damage,

It would create an eco-corridor for birds, insects and the bush itself, across the Belmont Hills in the most feasible place this could be done.

If you've been on a "Three Cities Crossing" Guided Walk we've led in the last two summers, you will know what we are talking about.

Creation of this Bush Corridor is part of the Maara Roa vision and takes our work to another stage - but we need help from Greater Wellington to achieve this.

So, now that Greater Wellington owns the farm, and plans to retire areas from farming, the Steering Group today also presented a submission to GW in relation to the new Regional Parks Network Management Plan.

August planting - 23 August 2010

By early August, 2½ months into our planting programme, all the wet weekend weather had put us way behind in our planting schedule.

Then fantastic news for our planters!  Pre-dug holes!  Lots and lots of them!

Many thanks to John Hodges and his whanau, who got hard at work with a post-hole borer, creating as many as 2000 holes for us.

Some of these holes were immediately used during planting on 21 & 22 August.

Having the pre-dug holes speeded up our planting rate dramatically, helping our groups to plant 500 trees during those two beautiful sunny days!

Human Birds Programme - Throwing the Seedballs - 4 July 2010

Another seedball 'served' into the gorge.

Another seedball 'served' into the gorge.

[See more photos]

The "Human Birds" threw or batted, the seedballs down into the steep-sided gorge of Cannons Creek, which drops away just beyond the gorse and scrub in the foreground.

This part of the valley is accessed from Takapu Road, Wellington, with a 20-minute walk along a Park track then across paddocks above the gorge.

The trees in the background are on the other side of the gorge, on the proposed route of the Transmission Gully motorway.

The gorge area targeted for the seedballs is defined as the "Takapu Conservation Covenant" and is fenced off from stock.

However, the native bush in the gorge is patchy and struggles to survive among rocky bluffs with gorse, bracken and pine trees - a typical site to use seedballs as a regeneration method, rather than attempting restorative planting by hand.

Participants in this programme included several private land owners, Nga Uruora (Paekakariki Coastal Escarpment), Nikau Reserve (Kapiti), and a science teacher from Onslow College.

With ten Friends and ten visitors from other bush restoration projects now able to undertake a "Human Birds" programme in their own areas, the regeneration of steep gullies, escarpments & gorsey slopes of many Wellington region landscapes can be expedited with minimal labour and maximum enjoyment - in the manner of our delightful native birds.

Many thanks to Owen Spearpoint of Greater Wellington, and Janet Hollow of Forest and Bird's Kiwi Conservation Club, for their help in this Programme.

Day 2 of Planting of "Honda Trees" donated by Honda Cars Ltd - 27 June 2010

Sunday June 27th exceeded all expectations - if anything the weather was worse than the day before, yet 23 people came that afternoon and planted another 300 "Honda Trees" in steady rain.

The volunteers included a total of 18 from a Seventh Day Adventist youth group from Wellington, who were remarkably cheerful in the rain and mud, and deserve many thanks for their help too!

The total of trees and plants planted over the weekend of 26 & 27 June came to 850, an excellent result.  Come again, everyone!

Day 1 of Planting of "Honda Trees" donated by Honda Cars Ltd - 26 June 2010

Wet volunteers help plant trees donated by Honda Cars

Wet volunteers from the Youth Empowerment group, and Barry (Parks staff), help plant trees donated by Honda Cars.

Despite yet another wet, cold Saturday, people turned out in good numbers for the two activities planned.

The main group tackled the planting of 800 trees donated to Greater Wellington by Honda Cars Ltd.

A group of 18 enthusiastic, fit young people from a Wellington "Youth Empowerment" group, joined 9 Friends and 3 Greater Wellington Parks staff.

The Parks staff, besides having had the holes pre-dug, shouted everyone hot drinks, muffins and fruit for lunch.  Thanks, guys!

At least 300 of the trees were planted beside the Takapu Track, in one of the areas burned out by the 2003 fire - all helping to create a further "Green Firebreak" as a buffer zone for a fine remnant stand of tawa and plantings of rewarewa, totara and other tall trees which were put in 5 years ago.

"Honda Trees": Each year Honda Cars Ltd donates 1 native tree for every Honda car sold, as their contribution to the environment.

Greater Wellington receives this in the form of cash and thus can provide trees for many of its Parks.  All that is needed is willing volunteers to plant them.

With lots of land available in the Maara Roa restoration area, a special effort each June is made by Greater Wellington with us to advertise and bring the public along to help with the planting.  The numbers of public volunteers increased this year, which is pleasing.

Kowhai Grove Tree Planting - 26 June 2010

'Drowned Rats at the Kowhai Grove'

"Drowned Rats at the Kowhai Grove" - Rae Collins, Adrienne Gibbs, Mr. French, Betty French, with their granddaughter Shanaia, and Dorothy Mitchell.

Setu (PCC Parks staff) - cheerful despite the rain and working with the

Setu (PCC Parks staff) - cheerful despite the rain and working with the "older ladies"!

The second activity on this cold wet Saturday was tackled by the The "Kowhai Grove Team" of 5 older women and 1 granddaughter, assisted by 2 men from Porirua City Council Parks.

They put in groundcover plants under the kowhai in the Lakes Reserve, and added more kowhai trees where dead and dying eucalypts had been removed.

This group installed 250 plants in two hours, a record no doubt due to the speed at which the experienced men worked - they probably planted 150 of those supplied.

Thanks to everyone's efforts, "Uru Kowhai" is becoming a real beauty spot.

Greater Wellington Regional Council's new Parks Management Plan - 15 & 17 June 2010

Greater Wellington Parks Network Plan - Draft

Greater Wellington Parks
Network Plan - Draft

A number of the Friends took part in the meetings held at Pataka, Norrie St, Porirua on 15th and 17th June, to hear about and discuss the Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC)'s new Parks Management 10-year Plan.

It covers all the Regional Parks from Belmont to Queen Elizabeth, and Kaitoke to East Harbour.

Our interest, of course, is in Belmont, on this western side of the Park, and Cannons Creek Valley in particular.

Issues are:

  • the future of the farming area now it is owned by Greater Wellington, not Landcorp Ltd
  • the impact of the Transmission Gully Motorway (TGM), and
  • the care and protection that is being planned for the native forest remnant which we are restoring

Some say the new Motorway will never be built, but that is not the opinion of the authorities, who now have it firmly shown in the new Parks Management Plan.

TGM crosses our valley and traverses over a third of Duck Creek valley behind Whitby, with large bridges and much cut-and-fill construction required for a 4-lane State Highway 1.

Access for the public - as well as for farm stock - from north to south of this road is crucial to our future plans.

Here are the important links to the information on the GWRC website:

If you want to view the previous 1996 plan - be warned! it is a massive PDF file - 30Mb.

Helpfully, GWRC say: For more information, including a copy of the draft network plan and a copy of the submission form, please contact Sharon Thurlow 04 384 5708,

Tree Planting volunteers from Bunnings, Porirua - 3 June 2010

Volunteers from Bunnings, Porirua help with the "infill planting" being done to increase the density of plantings in "Green Firebreaks" - 3 June 2010.

[More images]

World Environment Day display at Bunnings, Porirua - 5 June 2010

Bunnings management at Porirua gave us space in their shop for a Display and Promotion on World Environment Day.

Lots of customers stopped to look and talk, and to take tickets for 6 Lucky Draws for a native tree from our nursery, suitable for the home garden.

Many thanks, Bunnings - it all helps to let the public know the value of the bush forests around Porirua and north Wellington.

Bunnings, Porirua volunteers join project - 3 June 2010

Bunnings, Porirua is the first local business to have volunteers work on the Maara Roa restoration project.

6 staff got time off work, and were the second group to get trees in the ground this year for the project.

At least 80% of our 5000 trees this year will be used to increase the density of plantings in the "Green Firebreaks", adding to plantings from previous years.  Thanks, Bunnings.

Cannons Creek School children planting on 10 June 2010

Cannons Creek School children planting on 10 June 2010

[More images]

Adopt-A-Spot plantings - 10/11 June 2010

The plantings planned for 10 and 11 June by the Primary Schools on their Adopt-A-Spot sites, ran into cold wet conditions.

But Cannons Creek School went ahead with plantings on their Adopt-A Spot site - for the 9th year!  They were helped by staff from Porirua City Council.

See "Adopt-a-Spot" - efforts, press publicity and photos from previous years.

Gorse clearing

Gorse clearing

Weather problems - May/June 2010

Weather problems in late May and early June knocked back the spraying and clearing of gorse that needs to be done prior to planting, but as soon as weather permits we should be able to keep ahead of planting work.

John Hodges is in charge of this work, an essential part of our plans.

Even our own hardy Friends had to cancel the tree care / tree planting working bee for 29th May - rained out.

Tree care - preparing a 'hare net' plastic protector

Tree care - preparing a 'hare net' plastic protector

[More images]

MetService volunteers work on "Green Firebreak" - 12 May 2010

A group from MetService came on 12th May.  Unsurprisingly, the day was fine for them!

They did a great job of tree care on the "Green Firebreak" that protects the edge of the bush, where intensive planting has been done.  Thanks, MetService!

Sunday Afternoon Working Bees - April/May 2010

Cody helped with first plantings for 2010

Cody helped with first plantings for 2010

Despite poor weather on April 25th, Andrew and 3 other Friends turned up for the very first Sunday afternoon session, and did a good two hours of Tree Care.

The next working bee on a Sunday, was May 30th.  The weather was even worse, and this time Andrew was joined only by Jeff from Titahi Bay and his son Cody aged 8.  They all worked like trojans doing this year's FIRST TREE PLANTING.  Congrats to all 3 of you, especially Cody who is one tough guy!

Pest Control - April 2010

Possum bait station

Possum bait station

Many many thanks to all those maintaining the possum bait lines.  Unfortunately, possums are still coming in from the Takapu Road area - evidenced by the dead ones being found.

Two new possum bait stations have been established in the Lakes Reserve area.

There seem to be fewer rabbits this year, suggesting there may be some ferrets (or feral cats) around.

To maintain access some volunteers have been clearing overgrown sections of their lines. Keep up the good work!!!

We are also grateful to the Weed Control Team from Regional Council, who have been spraying Japanese Honeysuckle, Old Man's Beard, and other noxious plants. Thanks guys!

Track Maintenance - April 2010

Many thanks to the Regional Council staff based at Battle Hill Regional Park for mowing the tracks and keeping them in good order.

Last year the cattle made pug marks in the wet muddy tracks, which were then compacted.  This year the tracks have been in much better condition - better for walking groups and mountain bikers.

Human Birds Programme - 28 March 2010

Human Birds programme - making seedballs

Making seedballs

[See more photos]

Owen Spearpoint, Greater Wellington

Owen Spearpoint,
Greater Wellington

[See more photos]

Two successful Seed Collection mornings were held under the guidance of Owen Spearpoint, a Greater Wellington staff member.

Participants took their seeds home, cleaned and stored them, bringing them back for the third session, making the Seedballs.

Thanks to Mana College for letting us use their Art Room for this hands-on activity.

Now the Seedballs are being stored and hardened off till the winter weather

Then everyone will meet again for the "Throwing" morning, expected to be sometime in June/July when the soil and moisture is right.

"Throwing" sites will be selected in the Takapu area of the Maara Roa restoration project.  That will complete the Programme for this year, 2010.

Participants (totalling 18) have come from as far afield as Kilbirnie and Kapiti, and will be able to use this method of native forest restoration in other areas across the region, restoring private farm areas, public reserves, and Maori land, now they have attended the course organised by the Friends of Maara Roa.

Flax tutor Sarni Scott

Flax tutor Sarni Scott

The REAL Cannons Creek - Guided Walk - 27 March 2010

Example of flax work

Example of flax work

The final guided walk for the public was held on a perfect fine day.

A group of 10 visitors enjoyed an excellent talk and demo on harakeke (flax) and its uses by Sarni Scott and 2 helpers from Te Wananga o Aotearoa, Porirua.

The group walked all the way from the foot of "Cannons Creek Dam" on Warspite Avenue, to the little waterfall in the bush and then the bridge over the Creek on Takapu Track - they saw the REAL Cannons Creek on its way through our valley and the suburb named after it.

Kowhai Grove tidy-up and Tree Care progress - 24 March 2010

The Kowhai Grove had a tidy-up on 24th March, with 6 Friends removing weeds and mulching the groundcover plants placed last year. 

With a turn-out of 10 more Friends monitoring and weeding seedling trees in the main restoration area the same morning, progress is encouraging - only another 2000 more young trees to check yet!

We found that despite the dry autumn the young trees have survived very well.

ACC Volunteers help with Tree Care - 11 March 2010

ACC Volunteers help with Tree Care - 11 March 2010

Through Volunteer Wellington, a group from ACC came to Maara Roa on 11 March 2010 to help with Tree Care work.

Welcome back, Bellbirds!

Bellbird Korimako - Copyright: Lee Wadds, Deep Bay Apartment, Stewart Island

Bellbird - Korimako

Copyright: Lee Wadds,
Deep Bay Apartment, Stewart Island

Recently, one of our members heard the distinctive rattle of a bellbird's warning call.

A few months earlier, their normal calls had been heard - calls which are similar to that of the tui, but more tuneful.

This confirms that the bellbirds (korimako) have returned to Maara Roa after a very long absence!

Welcome back, Bellbirds!

Plant Nursery News



A very essential part of the Maara Roa project is our plant nursery, established by Neil Bellingham in 2001.

This year, we again have plenty to do.  Our energetic "potters-on" meet every Thursday morning (9.45am - 12.30pm) in our nursery courtyard at Porirua College.

We have a little over 5000 plants that will be mature enough to be planted up the valley during the winter planting season.  Many of these were "potted-on" during 2009 and are looking fine.

With this year's generous grant from Greater Wellington Regional Council, we have been able to buy in a further 2000 trees that do not need growing on - they will be able to be planted out this year.

These trees have been ordered from Kiwi Plants and Porirua City Council Nursery, both of whom are kindly housing them until our planting begins.

"Trees For Survival" provided 800 seedlings at the end of last year, now potted-on and growing well.

These were grown in the plant nursery at Rimutaka Prison, and were particularly healthy and well cared for seedlings - our thanks and congratulations to the workers there.

Seedlings in root trainers

Seedlings in root trainers

During 2009, we planted a range of seeds collected locally and are proud to report considerable success!

A number of species have germinated well, and we will soon be pricking them out into root trainers: karamu, poroporo, tawa, kohekohe, manuka, kanuka, coastal daisy, coastal flax, kowhai, akeake.

In fact we are flushed with success!  Cuttings of Hebe stricta and Olearia are also doing well.

This propagation has been a learning curve and also a lot of fun.

More learning about seed collection with the Human Birds activity is adding to our expertise - and this programme will help spread our trees far and wide in hard-to-reach areas.

Our warmest thanks to all the people who have helped with the busy work in the Nursery.

View our Seed Preparation, Planting and Potting webpage for more information.

If you would like to help in the plant nursery, give Juliet a call on (04) 235 5501.

Glenview Storage & Workshop Door repair fund - Door has now been repaired! - March 2010

Preparing milk cartons

Preparing milk cartons

Thanks to the generosity of our members and supporters once again, we are pleased to announce that donations have been received more than sufficient to pay for the repairs to the Garage Door at Glenview School.

The repairs to the door have now been completed.

We especially thank one anonymous donor, and our Patron Luamanuvao Winnie Laban, M.P. for Mana, both of whom gifted $100 for the cause.

This is a huge help to our volunteers and benefits the school as well.

The Three Cities Crossing - Guided Walk - 20 February 2010

A group of 12 people plus Friends of Maara Roa guides set out on a beautiful day in pleasant walking conditions, from the Belmont Regional Park information board, at the end of Takapu Road .

They walked down the Takapu Track (within Porirua City), over Wellington City grounds from there to the top ridge of the Belmont Hills near Cannons Head, enjoying the views out over Porirua City to Kapiti and Mana Islands on this side.

Moving to the other side of the ridge (within Lower Hutt city) to see the views over the Hutt Valley from Petone to the upper valley and the hills beyond.

Walking back down the Cannons Creek headwaters once again within Wellington City, the hilly hike ended back at the Takapu Entrance of Belmont Regional Park, having "crossed 3 cities" in just over 3 hours.

Human Birds Programme - 14 February 2010

The Human Birds Programme got off to a good start with the preliminary tutorial for Friends of Maara Roa members and experienced people from restoration groups.

12 participants collected seeds under the guidance of Owen Spearpoint of Greater Wellington, and these folk will return to take part in the event on Sunday 14 March, which is open to the public.

Rare White Rata Vine in flower, February 2010

Rare White Rata Vine in flower, February 2010
[Larger image]

Copyright: Sylvia Jenkin

Rare Rata Vine in Flower - 14 February 2010

This beautiful white rata is now flourishing thanks to the ongoing possum control work being done by the Friends.

The vine, growing on a tawa tree, was nearly dead when first identified in 2000, but is now growing vigorously in the sunlight of the canopy.

It was photographed during February's seed collecting as part of the Human Birds Programme.

The Maara Roa Loop - Guided Walk - 16 January 2010

Unfortunately, this walk was rained out on this day.  What an awful January we have had for weekend weather!

If you want to "see" what you could have seen on the walk, have a look at the photos in our Photo Gallery, taken on the walk in 2009.