When a small area at the entrance to one of our Summit forests was identified as “threatened habitat” in the NZ Threatened Environment Classification, we took action.
The Te Ara To Waka Revegetation Project was devised to protect and improve the 10-hectare entrance to Summit’s Te Ara To Waka Forest in Whanganui.
The entrance — along the edge of Upokongaro and Huripari Streams — is covered in exotic grass species and gorse and leased for grazing by the Whanganui District Council. With the revegetation project, our long-term goal is to return it to a riparian and lowland Tawa/Putaputaweta forest the community can enjoy.
With this project we aim to:
- Increase indigenous vegetation cover, habitat and biodiversity
- Restore ecological values
- Provide a recreational area for the community, including public access to existing forestry tracks with a parking and picnic area for walkers and mountain bikers.
Originally we planned to have Upokongaro Primary School, the Department of Conservation, and the wider community involved in the propagation and planting of the 10-hectare area. However lockdowns and gathering restrictions in response to Covid-19 changed that so, to avoid further delays, the site was prepared and planted by silvicultural contractors in June 2022.
Setbacks were established around buildings, roads and the fire dam pond. 9900 native seedlings were planted — mostly manuka (Leptospermum scoparium) to establish shelter as well as 500 flax (Phormium tenax) around the wetland. The manuka will provide shelter so surrounding podocarp/broadleaf seed sources will be able to establish in time. The seedings are establishing well.
Te Ara To Waka Forest is one of the forests in Summit’s 1248-hectare Whanganui Estate. Purchased from the Whanganui District Council in 2018, the Estate includes Te Ara To Waka, Sicelys, McNabs, and Tauwhare forests. It encompasses 985 hectares of plantation forest established in the late 80s and early 90s, 157 hectares of indigenous vegetation and 106 hectares of “other” which includes roads, buildings, and grass paddocks.