Friends of Tawa Bush Reserves

Friends of Tawa Bush Reserves

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Welcome to the Friends of Tawa Bush Reserves web site

The Friends of Tawa Bush Reserves is a local community group formed to promote and enhance the conservation and long term preservation of bush reserves situated in the Tawa Basin and to liaise with the Wellington City Council to achieve these aims.

The bush gave Tawa its name.   It is a valuable part of our heritage and important in improving the natural environment of the whole of Wellington City.

Active management is critical for the viability and long term survival of the remaining forest remnants.


Member Involvement   -   WORKING-BEES

Regular weekend working-bees are planned on the 2nd Sunday afternoon of each month, commencing at 1.30 p.m.   A mid-week working-bee is also held on the 4th Tuesday afternoon of each month, commencing at 1.30 p.m.   Members are invited to participate in these activities to improve the public access tracks, to undertake tree planting, weeding around planted trees, or pest plant removal.

The next weekend working-bee is scheduled for Sunday 11th August., 1.30 – 4 p.m.
Please meet at 183 Bing Lucas Drive, Tawa.
The objective of this working-bee is tree planting.
Recommended to bring - boots, gloves, spade and clothing appropriate to the weather.
For further information please contact Richard Herbert, phone 027 4455942.

An additional working-bee is scheduled for Tuesday 13th August., 1.30 – 4 p.m.
Please meet at Forest of Tawa at 58C Kiwi Crescent, Tawa.
The objective of this working-bee is tree planting.
Recommended to bring - boots, gloves, spade and clothing appropriate to the weather.
For further information please contact Richard Herbert, phone 027 4455942.

The next mid-week working-bee is scheduled for Tuesday 27th August., 1.30 – 4 p.m.
Please meet at 183 Bing Lucas Drive, Tawa.
The objective of this working-bee is tree planting.
Recommended to bring - boots, gloves, spade and clothing appropriate to the weather.
For further information please contact Andrew Liley, phone 232 5294 / 021 02783927.

Also, the Willowbank Reserve Care Group have a working-bee on the 1st Thursday of each month.   See them on FaceBook "Willowbank Care Group" for details.

Tawa Tree poster

 New Book

NEW BOOK ABOUT TAWA     Tawa the tree, the community and its reserves was launched on 9 October 2017 at a function hosted at the Tawa Library.   This book can now be purchased directly from the Tawa Library, Corner Main Road and Cambridge Street, Tawa, or from the Secretary for $35 each, while stocks last.

There is a limited print-run of the book, and orders can be placed now by email with Ken Woodgate, Secretary, Tawa Historical Society: ken.woodgate (at)

Author, Gil. Roper is a member of the ‘Tawa Historical Society’ and ‘Friends of Tawa Bush Reserves’ and the book launch was sponsored by both these groups.

This new, colour-illustrated, 180-page A4 size publication features:
•   an in-depth description of the tawa tree, its discovery and distribution in NZ
•   native vegetation associated with tawa
•   the native bush in the Tawa area ? before and at the time of human settlement, and today
•   eyewitness accounts of flora observed by early settlers of the region
•   the uses of tawa ? it is related to the avocado, bay tree and cinnamon
•   the origins of the names ‘Tawa Flat’ and ‘Tawa’
•   the history and work of ‘Friends of Tawa Bush Reserves’ with details of pest control in the bush reserves and other community activities
•   the WCC purchase of the Forest of Tane and its importance
•   detailed coverage of eleven reserves in Tawa ? source of names, history, vegetation, development, aerial images, maps, tracks and photos taken in each reserve
•   history of bird species in Tawa and comparative data on bird populations recorded in 2008 and 2017 in Redwood Bush Reserve
•   a detailed list of the plant species in the native bush reserves in Tawa ? common names, Maori names and botanical names.



In the late 1990s, one of Tawa?s few stands of remnant forest was at immediate risk of being felled for a housing development.   Residents stepped in to save it for future generations, and Friends of Tawa Bush Reserves was born.

Twenty years on, our work has extended to cover the length and breadth of Tawa.   But the future of much of Tawa?s bush and forest is by no means certain.   Much of the land is privately held and could be developed.

In response to this challenge, we engaged a well-respected ecological consulting firm, Wildlands, to work with us to develop a strategic plan.   This strategic plan helps us, and our partners to focus on how we can ensure the long-term sustainability of Tawa?s bush, as well as improve the resilience and effectiveness of our own organisation.

The Strategy Plan may be downloaded here (4.5MB pdf).

We thank the Lotteries Commission, Wellington City Council and Tawa Community Board for generously providing the financial support needed to develop the plan.

Member Involvement   -   AT HOME

Become a Weedbuster!   “Weedbusters!” is a new programme launched in New Zealand in October 2003 to educate and raise awareness about weeds.


When you’re out in the garden, remember, weeds aren’t just a problem in your own back yard - they also threaten natural areas.   Nearly three quarters of invasive weeks are garden escapes.  
Visit the Weedbusters web site for further weed news.

Many garden plants can become invasive and are easily spread by birds.   Introduced from other parts of the world, they are often more weedy in New Zealand than in their home country.


Check your property - Remove potentially invasive plants.  
Download “A guide to recognising and controlling invasive weeds” here.


Home Nursery.   Members of the Friends are growing-on trees for replanting into the bush reserves around Tawa.   We wish to concentrate on the planting of the heritage species not readily sourced through the Council nursery due to slow growth rates but that were once common place in the Tawa bush areas; e.g. matai, miro, rimu, kahikatea, pukatea, southern rata and of course, tawa.   Unfortunately these trees can take up to five years before they are of a suitable size for planting out into the bush and existing nursery ground space available to the friends is at a premium.   Therefore if you live in the Tawa locality and have some spare backyard ground space in a shady situation and are prepared to monitor the trees and occasionally water them during extended dry periods, we would like to hear from you.

We would also like to recycle your used cardboard milk containers.   We find these to be an easy to use alternative to plastic planter nursery pots.   If you have any to donate please phone Damian on 232 3079 to arrange collection.

Member Involvement   -   WCC SUBMISSIONS

The Friends of Tawa Bush Reserves has provided input to Council on the following policy documents :

The “Northern Growth management Plan Framework” and associated “Implementation Plan”, published May 2004.
The “Outer Green Belt Management Plan”, published in 2004.
The “Open Space Access Plan”, aka “Track Plan”, published in 2004.
The “Pest Management Plan”, published in 2004.
The “Northern Reserves Cluster Management Plan”, published in 2008.
The “The Long Term Community Plan” (LCCP) and Council Annual Plans.
The “Open Space Access Plan - 2016 Revision”, aka “Track Plan”, published in 2016.

If you wish to learn more about these plans or have suggestions you’d like considered please contact a committee member.



Tawa’s Memorial Trees - Are you aware of any Memorial or Commemorative trees planted in Tawa.   We would like to know about more of these.   Read about them here.

Wellington Community Groups - The Wellington region has a large number of local community environmental care groups that foster the care of a specific area under the guidance of the local council.   Why not contact your local group and get involved, meet great people and make a difference!   Find your local group here.

Gardeners - are you aware that you may have plants growing in your garden that are considered pests and can be harmful to our environment?   Dispose of your weeds wisely.   Read further here.

The following 11 pest plants are categorised for Total Control and targeted for eradication from the Wellington region.
•   African feathergrass   –   Pennisetum macrourum
•   Bathurst bur   –   Xanthium spinosum
•   Blue passionflower   –   Passiflora caerulea
•   Climbing spindleberry   –   Celastrus orbiculatus
•   Eelgrass   –   Vallisneria australis
•   Manchurian wild rice   –   Zizania latifolia
•   Madeira vine   –   Anredera cordifolia
•   Moth plant   –   Araujia sercifera
•   Perennial nettle   –   Urtica dioica and subspp
•   Saffron thistle   –   Carthamus lanatus
•   Woolly nightshade   –   Solanum mauritianum

Check out more information on these sepcies and sighting reporting contacts at

Check out the pest plants included in the Greater Wellington Regional Pest Control Strategy here.

Dont Dump Garden Rubish

Birds of Tawa - Arthur Carman records of the Tawa of pioneering times, “The forest was full of native birds, and all the pioneers have commented on the clouds of green parakeets and pigeons.”
Have you seen any unusual birds around the native bush reserves of Tawa lately?   Help us update the reserves bird species list.

Pest Free Tawa - Interested in becoming a backyard pest warrier and helping bring back our native bird populations then why not also join Pest Free Tawa and obtain a backyard rat trap.   See their FaceBook page for Pest Free Tawa for further information.



Red Rata Vine in flower

Splashes of colour as the Metrosideros fulgens (red rata vine) comes into flower, overtopping their tawa tree hosts in Redwood Bush near Balliol Avenue, Tawa (19th May 2002)

Contact Friends of Tawa Bush Reserves at:

PO Box 51-083
Wellington 5249

email: secretary (at)

phone: 0-4-232 4223

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