Residents Restore Reserve

28 November 2011

Seton Nossiter Park is just 4km away, but it's steep and virtually inaccessible to a group of elderly gardeners who are helping to restore it.

Davina Rawiri and John Woodcock with some of the seedlings potted up for Seton Nossiter Park

Davina Rawiri and John Woodcock with some of the seedlings potted up for Seton Nossiter Park

For the past year John Woodcock and residents from Cashmere Home in Johnsonville have been raising native plants from seed for planting groups working to protect the park's original titoki and tawa forest and its section of Belmont Stream.

The park covers 30ha in the steep gullies between Grenada Village and Horokiwi, Woodridge, Newlands and Paparangi.

The Cashmere Home residents have been potting up tawa, toe toe, manuka, rangiora and renga renga seedlings in their lounge and care for them in a mini-greenhouse outside until they are big enough to survive in the reserve.

John wouldn't have called himself a gardener 3 years ago; that's when he came to live in the home after he broke his hip. He used to 'move the hose around' for his wife Audrey, who took charge of the gardening at their Tawa home. Now from his wheelchair he leads the team of up to 10 residents and volunteers who water the seedlings.

Working with the Seton Nossiter Park Working Group and Woodridge Planters, two of 60 volunteer groups that assist the Council, the residents are part of a community effort to protect and restore the reserve.

"They can't get to the plantings but this is the way they can and do contribute," says Peter Gilberd, a member of the Seton Nossiter Working Group.

Restoration efforts also involve local children. On Arbor Day this year, a team of about 30 Council parks staff, and students from Paparangi School, Newlands Intermediate and Newlands College planted 3,000 native plants.

Seton Nossiter Park is also important historically. Visitors can still see the concrete abutments of the old wooden Belmont viaduct - constructed in 1885 for the Wellington and Manawatu Railway Company and one of the great engineering achievements of
19th century New Zealand.

If you're interested in joining a volunteer group working in our parks and reserves, or want to start your own, phone (04) 499 4444 and talk to one of our park rangers or go to:

Reserves and Town Belt - Volunteers - Support