Today, the Petone and Lower Hutt area is an intense conglomeration of industrial, commercial and residential buildings and infrastructure – interconnected by motorways, roads and railways – concentrated within the confines of the sea to the south and the steeply rising hills of the valley to the west and east. Within this landscape of steel, glass, concrete and asphalt, it is hard to believe that only 170 years ago, this was thickly forested floodplain and estuary, rich with teeming birdlife – including the now extinct huia, and the endangered kokako. Continue reading
This is a view of Swamp Road, with forms an L-shape through farmland just south of Otaki township [click here to view location]. This shot is taken looking east towards the Tararua Ranges. As hinted by the name, this area, which is the floodplain of the Otaki River, was once a mosaic of wetlands, open water, raupo swamp, flax and swamp forest. However, this has been drained and cleared to make way for farmland. The river, just north of here, is now largely confined to a single channel and the ecosystem is dominated by introduced species. On Swamp Road, the name is the only remaining vestige of its original state – the road runs through a patchwork of market gardens and dairy farms. At the very end of the road, on old sand dune terrain, is the Katihiku Marae.
Source/further reading: Greater Wellington Regional Council
Photo: Catherine Knight