November 2021 Newsletter

Friends of Maara Roa (FMR): 21 years bringing biodiversity back to the Cannons Creek catchment

Working bees are every fine Saturday; meet at 9.30 am in the carpark by the Porirua College gymnasium.  The nursery group meets every Thursday from 10 am to noon, in the grounds of Aotea College in Okowai Road. Website:

November 2021 newsletter:  Many to thank

  • Farewell to Wayne Boness
  • Picnic moves to new year
  • 1200 new plants despite lockdown
  • Hold a hose to help us
  • New meeting point for working bees

Three volunteer groups have been a big help with planting this year, including members of Caritas pictured through this newsletter (thanks Amanda Gregan and Julie Daly).

Farewell to Wayne Boness

Wayne Boness is leaving his role as Principal Ranger for Belmont Regional Park to take up a new position with DOC in Taranaki.  He will be greatly missed. For the past ten years Wayne has been the adviser and advocate for FMR, and along with Ranger Jeremy Paterson has made sure our activities are supported in practical ways like delivering plants to site.  He’s spent a number of his evenings at our committee meetings, answering questions and keeping us up to date with plans and developments for the wider park, most recently guiding us through the latest Parks Plan.  We thank him and wish Wayne and his wife all the very best for their new life in Taranaki, and warmly welcome his replacement – congratulations to Jeremy Paterson who has taken over as Western Principal Ranger (Parks). A new “Jeremy” is being appointed.

Picnic moves to New Year

Instead of ending the year with a picnic, we will have a get-together to start the new year, when the weather should be more settled, so we won’t have to worry about the possible postponements that have threatened in recent years.  We are also thinking of a new location to be closer to the most recent plantings. Look out for an invitation early in 2022. In the meantime, all the best for the festive season.

Christmas breaks: Nursery Nov 25– February; Working bees: Dec 10- Jan 29.

1200 new plants despite lockdown

The first crates of plants had been delivered to the “Golden Hectare” when this year’s lockdown arrived. Fortunately, the plants survived, and in the months since the core group of planters, with the assistance of three groups of helpers, have managed to place 1200 new plants, bringing the total in the ground to 87,200.  The most recent plantings have been in-fill at the Golden Hectare and other sites, beside the track leading up the hill to “Glenys’s Seat” and around the seat itself where a large level area has been cleared and sprayed. There is space for many more plants so it is likely contractors will be engaged next year. We have had some excellent help from groups that are now becoming experienced planters. Our thanks to Amanda Gregan and Caritas, for the third year running, to Rob Dunn and Outward Bound, for the second time this year with a group from Porirua College, and to Dave Sutherland, also a welcome return visitor, with another group from Porirua College. 

Hold a hose to help us

Once again Brenda Johnston is putting together a roster for watering plants in the nursery at Aotea College over the Christmas period. If it is dry, plants will need watering three times a week; as there are fewer plants now you’ll only be holding the hose for less than an hour.  If you can help even occasionally let Brenda know when you will be available.

New meeting point  

Our regular meeting point for Saturday working bees is now in the grounds of Porirua College near the gym.  Our thanks to the College for letting us park there as it brings us much closer to the new areas we are now planting.

The Friends of Maara Roa (Inc) is supported by Greater Wellington Regional Council. We work to the 20-year Belmont Regional Park Cannons Creek Forest Restoration Plan. Our next committee meeting will be on Tuesday 7 December. Contact Sef  or 04 234 7747 if you would like to come along.