Friends of Tawa Bush Reserves

Friends of Tawa Bush Reserves

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Bush Reserves of the Tawa Area

The Friends of Tawa Bush Reserves advocates for the conservation of bush remnants generally within the Tawa area of Wellington City.

These includes the bush areas of :

Projects the Friends and the Council are working on include; repairing boundary fencing, signage, track development and maintenance, pest plant control, possum control and tree planting.   Initial priorities related to conservation of Larsen Crescent Reserve, and pest animal and pest plant control in Redwood Bush and the development of tracks in Larsen Crescent Reserve and Redwood Bush.   Other projects will be undertaken as plans are developed and resources identified.



Larsen Crescent Reserve

Larsen Crescent Reserve is a small reserve located on the footslopes between Larsen Crescent and Peterhouse Street, north of Redwood Bush.   It covers an altitudinal range of 70 - 90 metres and is completely surrounded by urban residential development.   Its legal description is Lot 1 DP 88116 and Lot 13 DP 27445, part Section 41 Porirua Survey District, and designated Open Space B Conservation Reserve site 5B.

The area had been damaged by the felling of several of its canopy trees in 1996 and only saved from further damage through residential development by a public uprising bringing pressure through the Environment Court which eventually saw the Wellington City Council acquire the land.   In 2002 the lower eastern portion was subdivided for residential development and the remaining bush remnant portion retained as a recreation reserve.   While the remnant is very small (0.7184 ha), it is still regarded as a regionally significant remnant site in terms of its age, diversity and species composition and in 2006 further public submission led to its reserve status being upgraded to a conservation area.

Larsen Crescent Reserve photo
Larsen Crescent Reserve from Larsen Crescent entrance - 2004.

Notable specimen trees in the Reserve include impressive stands of Matai and Tawa trees and mature specimens of Totara.   Possum control of this area commenced as part of the Redwood Bush KNE area during 2002.



Redwood Bush

Redwood Bush is an irregularly-shaped (c. 10 ha) area of rolling hill country on the western slopes of Tawa generally running above Oriel Avenue to the ridgeline.   It covers an altitudinal range of 75 - 140 metres and is bordered by agricultural land (comprising mostly regenerating scrub), pine forest plantation and urban residential development.   Its legal description is Lot 1 DP59929, Lot 21 DP 48877, Lot 23 DP48578 and Lot 26 DP 52654 (CT 30A/65), part Section 36 and 38 Porirua Survey District, and designated Open Space B Conservation Reserve site 5B.

Redwood Bush forms a key part of the larger Redwood Bush Key Native Ecosystem area and is part of the Wellington City Council Outer Green Belt area.   Unfortunately much of the regenerating bush in the upper portion of the Redwood Bush Key Native Ecosystem area below the ridgeline is in private ownership and its long term protection is not yet assured.

Redwood Bush photo
Redwood Bush included in the greening area of the south western slopes of Tawa suburb - 2003.

The site’s conservation significance is due to the remnant tawa forest, which is uncommon around Wellington, and its regenerating broad-leaved forest with a healthy diversity of species.   Possum control of this area commenced as part of the Redwood Bush KNE area during 2002.



Wilf Mexted Scenic Reserve

Wilf Mexted Scenic Reserve comprises a small rectangular shaped gully area (4 ha) located above Greenacres on the north eastern slopes of Tawa at the junction of Collins Avenue and Woodman Drive.   It covers an altitudinal range of 75 - 100 metres and is bordered by agricultural land (pasture and pine plantation), urban commercial development and urban residential development.

The original land (1.6 ha) was donated for a scenic reserve in the 1939 in by the early settler, Wilf Mexted, who recognised the significance of retaining what little remained of the original forest cover of the area for future generations.   Wilf was a great lover of trees and one of his favourite sayings was, "plant a tree for unborn eyes to see".   In recent times an additional buffer area has been added on the eastern and southern sides from neighbouring subdivision reserve contributions.

Its legal description is Section 180 Porirua District and Lot 10 DP 88281, being parts of Sections 48 and 50, Porirua District, and part of Section 6, Takapu District and 38 Porirua Survey District, and designated Open Space B Conservation Reserve site 5C.

Notable specimen trees in the Reserve include kahikatea, miro, rewarewa, and pukatea, within a canopy of tawa and kohekohe.   Possum control of this Wilf Mexted Reserve commenced January 2005.

Wilf Mexted Reserve photo

Wilf Mexted Scenic Reserve from corner Collins Avenue and Woodman Drive, Tawa.



Wadham Reserve

Wadham Reserve is a small reserve (0.28 ha) located at 42 Oriel Avenue on the south western footslopes of Tawa between Oriel Avenue (at Wadham Grove) and Pembroke Street, east of Redwood Bush.   It covers an altitudinal range of 60 - 80 metres and is completely surrounded by urban residential development.   Its legal description is Lot 47 DP 33779, part Section 36 Porirua Survey District, and designated Open Space B Recreation Reserve.

The area was mostly cleared for farming following European settlement and as part of the Redwood subdivision, apart from a small remnant of predominantly kohekohe adjacent to Oriel avenue and some regenerating mahoe in the gully at the northern end of the reserve.   The remaining mostly steep bank area became a neglected weedy grassland with a few trees planted by neighbours.   In 2004 the Friends undertook a working-bee to remove the worst of the weeds and planted 500 WCC supplied trees on the grass embankment area.   Weed maintenance and some in-fill planting continued in subsequent years.   In 2009 WCC improved the drainage of the lower corner area and this section was cleared of weeds and planted.

Wadham Reserve photo
Wadham Grove Reserve from Oriel Avenue end - 2004.

Notable specimen trees in the Reserve include a rata and a stand of kohekohe.   Possum control of this area commenced as part of the Redwood Bush KNE area during 2002.



Woodburn Reserve

Woodburn Drive bush is an irregularly-shaped (c. 16.4 ha) area of valley escarpment located at 1 Woodburn Drive in the western slopes of the Takapu valley running from the creek bed to the west of Woodman Drive to the ridgeline.   It covers an altitudinal range of 75 - 140 metres and is bordered by previous agricultural land that in recent years has been converted to lifestyle residential development, and a pine forest plantation.   Its legal description is Lots 101 & 102 DP 79969 and Lot 52 DP 302319, parts Section 40 and 42 Porirua Survey District, and designated rural.

Woodburn Reserve photo
Woodburn Reserve from southern end - 2004.

The surrounding area was mostly cleared for farming following European settlement but a bush remnant on this steep escarpment that comprises the reserve was left relatively intact.   A bulldozed farm track sidling through the reserve and a water main access route provide access tracks for this reserve.   In December 2005 the Friends undertook a working-bee to remove the worst of the weeds primarily Old Mans Beard and Himalayan Honeysuckle which continue to be monitored and controlled.   In 2008, 2009 and 2010 the Friends planted 500 WCC supplied trees each year in the pastureland grass above the bush-line north of the cutting to revegetate the western boundary of the reserve area.

The site’s conservation significance is due to its remnant tawa forest and the significant age of some other surviving specimens including puka and kohekohe broadleaf trees, pigeon-wood and mapou.   Possum control of this area commenced October 2006.



Charles Duncan Reserve

Charles Duncan Reserve is a small reserve (0.76 ha) located at 2B Fyvie Avenue on the north western footslopes of Tawa between Turriff Crescent and Main Road Tawa.   It covers an altitudinal range of 20 - 40 metres and is completely surrounded by urban residential development.   Its legal description is Lot 1 DP 51563, part Section 52 Porirua Survey District, and designated Open Space B Recreation Reserve.

Section 52 was originally purchased by Charles Duncan in 1866.   As a trained horticulturalist, Charles continued his trade on their farm he called “Linden Vale” after a favourite spot of his in Kew Gardens – constructing a garden and nursery around their home.   His son Stuart Duncan continued to live on the property and subsequent to his death the farm became the Lindenvale subdivision and this remaining portion was vested in the then Tawa Borough Council as Recreation Reserve in 1981.

Following an interest in the Duncan family by the Tawa Historical Society, a name of Charles Duncan Reserve was suggested for this area to the Wellington City Council in 2005 in recognition of the influence that Charles Duncan and his family had on the development of northern Tawa.   This was approved by Council in May 2006 and, in collaboration with the Friends of Tawa Bush Reserves and the Wellington City Council, work was commenced to bring the reserve back from the overgrown neglected state that had hitherto befallen it.   Over the following four years much of the weeds and rubbish has been removed and around 1,000 local grown native trees planted, a reserve name and information board signage added and an access track developed.   Further native tree plantings and weed maintenance will continue.

A small ceremony was held at the reserve on 6 December 2009 to recognise of progress thus far and to open the access track provided.   We hope that in the future neighbours and the people of Tawa may be able to enjoy this small enclave amongst suburbia as Charles once did and that it may also provide a significant contribution to supporting the increased native bird population that Tawa now enjoys and a remembrance to one of our pioneer families and the contribution they made to the development of Tawa.

Charles Duncan Reserve
Charles Duncan Reserve from Tui Park - 2004.

Some notable exotic specimen trees in the reserve possibly survive from Charles Duncan's original plantings and these are being assessed by the WCC arborist department.   Possum control of this area commenced during 2007.



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