Today, the 30th April 2011, was a day of great triumph and celebration for many people in the Kapiti Coast community, with the official opening of 440 hectare Whareroa Farm Reserve, between Paraparaumu and Paekakari [click here to view location]. It is certainly not every day that a new recreational and nature reserve is opened to the public, and Whareroa Farm has only become such a reserve as a result of persistent lobbying by the local community and the ongoing work of one community-based organisation, the Whareroa Guardians Trust. Continue reading
Sunset over the channel of the swimming heroine
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. Continue reading
The kohekohe forest of Hemi Matenga Reserve
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].
Kapiti Island – an environmental history “microcosm” – Part 1
Kapiti Island is the summit of a submerged mountain range created by seismic activity 200 million years ago. It is 10 km long and about 2 km wide, covering an area of 1,965 hectares. The highest point, Tuteremoana, is 521 metres above sea-level.
The history of Kapiti Island neatly encapsulates – both geographically and temporally – the key phases of New Zealand’s environmental history. In a relatively short space of time it has been the object of intensive exploitation that saw its natural resources stretched to their limits, before entering a new phase as a predator-free haven for our rarest native birds. As such, it is now on the forefront of New Zealand’s battle to preserve its natural heritage. But, a lesser known part of its environmental history is the hundreds of years that it sustainably supported a small Maori population. Continue reading
A rare survivor – Taupo swamp
Our environmental history is littered with the stories of wetlands that were drained to make way for farmland or settlements. But in the Wellington region, there is a rare example of a substantial wetland that survived this onslaught. It is an example of how – paradoxically – an environment’s utility as a source of a commercial resource can sometimes provide for its preservation.
Over the last 150 years there were a number of attempts to drain the swamp for farming, but these attempts succeeded in only partially draining the swamp. Continue reading