Today, as I was putting my son down for his afternoon nap, I caught the melodic, undulating song of what might have been a tui, but when I looked out of my son’s window the bush on the bank outside, it was the distinctive olive shape of a smaller sized bird that I saw. It was a bellbird – the first that I have ever spotted either around my home, or indeed, in Paraparaumu [click here to view map], the coastal town in which I live.

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This striking landscape is comprised of bush regenerating on ungrazed pasture on the left-hand side of the fence-line, and pasture with remnant bush on the right-hand side. The left side is part of the Paraparaumu Scenic Reserve, a 256 hectare reserve, located to the east of Paraparaumu [see map below]. The right-side is part of lifestyle blocks off the Nikau Valley rural subdivision. (more…)

This morning, Carter and I had some time to kill before his first ever appointment with the dental nurse, so we went for a drive up Maungakotukutuku Road,* south-east of Paraparaumu [click here to view location]. This is narrow, windy road, best taken very slowly and carefully (especially in a Kia Picanto!), so it was a good time of day to explore it. The low cloud and light, misty rain added to the sense of mystery and adventure. (more…)

The Wharemauku Stream is notable to visitors and residents of Paraparaumu alike for the fact that it runs underneath the Coastlands Mall, built in 1969 [see photo below, right]. Seeing it straightened, stripped of its indigenous ecology and thrust into such a jarring constructed landscape, many might mistake it for a man-made drain; few would be able to imagine how it might have looked in its natural state before this area was developed for farmland and settlements 150 years ago.

The source of the Wharemauku Stream is in the Maungakotukutuku valley, from where it flows westwards through the Paraparaumu and Raumati Beach areas, before reaching the Tasman Sea on the northern side of Raumati Marine Gardens [see photo below left]. (more…)

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