I have been reading about the debate and discussion related to forest destruction and preservation in the latter half of the 19th century, and what strikes me most about this debate is the character of the men that took part in it. These were the likes of  William Travers (1819 – 1903, lawyer, politician, naturalist and explorer), Thomas Potts (1824 – 1888, politician and naturalist), Charles Heaphy (surveyor, artist, explorer, soldier, politician), Harry Ell (1862–1934, politician, soldier, conservationist) and Leonard Cockayne (1855 -1934, botanist). (more…)

After our first excursion to Reikorangi on the last day of 2011 [see: Views of Kapiti 8: the kahikatea of Ngatiawa], I couldn’t resist another outing there with my son the next day.

I find the landscapes of Reikorangi so alluring; the natural environment itself is varied and interesting, both in its contours and mix of indigenous and exotic vegetation, but I also like the fact that its history is so palpable in the landscape. Even from the road, an observant visitor will spot old buildings, lichen-covered fences, abandoned machinery and other infrastructure. (more…)

It was a rainy afternoon on the last day of 2011, so the family and I went out on a drive into the countryside to get out of the house. We ventured into the Reikorangi hills to the east of Waikanae, and just at the junction of Ngatiawa and Kents Road [click here to view map], came across this paddock with a few scattered kahikatea in it. The trees are too small to be original, but are likely to have spontaneously regenerated after the forest that clothed the hills here was cleared. (more…)

A view of the Hemi Matenga hills, which overlook the town of Waikanae, taken from Elizabeth Street, eastern Waikanae. Low morning cloud shrouds the hills, threatening rain, and creating a sense of drama and mystique. (more…)

Today, the Akatarawa Road between Waikanae and the Upper Hutt provides a beautiful scenic route through rugged native forest and forestry country, with views across the valley out to sea [click here to view location]. The road largely follows the Akatarawa River, which joins the Hutt River north of Upper Hutt. (more…)

Taken on the penultimate evening of 2010, this is a landscape that has probably changed little over the last few hundred years. This is taken from Waikanae beach [click here to view location], looking south-east over the Rauoterangi Channel, towards Kapiti Island. The small island to the left of Kapiti Island is Tokomapuna Island (or Aeroplane Island). The top of the South Island can be seen faintly in the background. (more…)

As mentioned in the previous post, today, Carter and I set out on one of our adventures with (inevitably) an environmental history theme – this time, to a little grove of regenerating kohekohe forest, which forms part of the Hemi Matenga Memorial Reserve, in the hills behind Waikanae [click here to view map].

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Nga Manu Images is an online photo library created by Dave Mudge and Peter McKenzie, founder trustees of Nga Manu Trust, a charitable trust dedicated to the conservation of New Zealand’s flora and fauna, and conservation education. The Trust founded the Nga Manu Nature Reserve, just north of Waikanae on the Kapiti Coast, featured on this website. What makes this photo repository so unique is that, in keeping with the Trust’s objectives, these images are available free of charge for conservation advocacy and education purposes, as well as non-commercial personal use.

Many of the images on this site are part of a more than three decade-long project to develop a pictorial record of the ecology of Nga Manu Nature Reserve, recording the plants and wildlife and the way they interact. (more…)

Today – the first day of spring – dawned crisp and clear, so Carter and I decided to venture out to one of our favourite hang-outs: Nga Manu Nature Reserve, just north of Waikanae township, on the Kapiti Coast [click here to view map]. (more…)

Of the many fascinating stories about New Zealand’s rivers, none would be more mysterious that the case of the disappearing river of Waikanae.

About 120 years ago, the Waimeha River forked off the Waikanae River near the current road bridge south of Waikane township. It then meandered through the current Waikanae township, largely following the route of what is now Te Moana Road. As it neared the coast it sharply changed direction southwards to follow the coastline, before eventually meeting up with the Waikanae River and making its break out to sea. (more…)

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