Produced as part of Branch Out newsletter - Spring 2011
Seton Nossiter Park has been described as one of Wellington's best-kept secrets. But Bruce Patterson, chair of the Seton Nossiter Park Working Group, is more than happy to let the secret out.
The park is a 1.6 kilometre-long natural reserve covering 30 hectares in the steep gullies between Grenada Village and Horokiwi, Woodridge, Newlands and Paparangi.
The Seton Nossiter Park Working Group works with Wellington City Council, schools and community groups to protect and restore the park - in particular the remnant of original titoki-tawa forest and the stream.
The group is spear-headed by Bruce Patterson and Peter Gilberd and cooperates with two neighbouring planting groups, Woodridge Planters and Ngā Hau e Whā o Paparārangi. "The group has had fantastic support from Wellington City Council and has also received generous funding from WWF-New Zealand," Peter says.
Bruce says that on a cold "wonderful" Arbor Day, in June this year, a team of about 30 Council parks and reserves staff, and students from Paparangi School, Newlands Intermediate and Newlands College planted 3,000 native plants.
Peter says they might have a meeting and get 12 or 13 people, but then Newlands Intermediate turns up to a planting day with 140 students - "140 kids running around in 140 different directions and you are still getting 620 plants in the ground in the course of a morning".
But the Seton Nossiter group has been equally successful in involving older people. For the past year, a group of enthusiastic gardeners from Cashmere Home in Johnsonville has been raising native plants from seed in a mini-greenhouse. "They can't get to the plantings but this is the way they can and do contribute," Peter says.
Cashmere Home recreation coordinator Davina Rawiri says residents were given the mini-greenhouse as a Christmas present by the Seton Nossiter group and Woodridge Planters. Since then up to 10 residents and volunteers have been helping to raise seed.
Davina says residents already help to garden in the home's courtyards, but this is the first time they have been involved in a project that allows them to give back to the community - and to pass something on. These days on outings "we are starting to identify trees that we wouldn't have looked at twice", she says.