Park ris­ing from ashes

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

The ef­fort of lo­cals in restor­ing Whi­tireia Park af­ter 2010’s dev­as­tat­ing bush­fire was cel­e­brated on Satur­day dur­ing a pub­lic tour of the re­serve.

Whi­tireia Park Restora­tion Group led a band of bush-lovers on a tour of the burned park, show­ing the re­sults of vol­un­teer work to re­store na­tive veg­e­ta­tion in the two years since a teenage ar­son­ist re­duced 20 hectares of park land to cin­ders.

Ma­hoe and poro­poro are two of the na­tive plants mak­ing a come­back in the more shel­tered gul­lies, tour leader and lo­cal plant en­thu­si­ast Robyn Smith said.

Lo­cals vol­un­teer­ing their time to plant seedlings and hand weed around na­tive plants has made a world of dif­fer­ence to the park, along­side Greater Welling­ton Re­gional Coun­cil’s spray­ing pro­gramme on the re­gen­er­at­ing gorse, she said.

‘‘ It looks like a big grass­land but there’s some re­ally spe­cial lit­tle bits in here.’’

The park’s re­cov­ery will take years, if not decades, Ms Smith said, as the coun­cil has a lim­ited bud­get for restora­tion work.

‘‘It will hap­pen but it’s just re­ally slow.’’

So the work of vol­un­teers, like the 60 who turned up for a post-fire plant­ing day in 2010, is es­sen­tial.

‘‘We need lots of peo­ple to keep com­ing to plant­ing days.’’

An­i­mal life is re­turn­ing to the park, no­tably lit­tle blue pen­guins who have made their home in some wa­ter’s-edge plants put in by vol­un­teers last year.

Af­ter the fire: Plant and an­i­mal life is re­turn­ing to Whi­tireia Park two years af­ter a dev­as­tat­ing bush­fire, thanks to ef­forts from lo­cal vol­un­teers, Ti­tahi Bay’s Robyn Smith says.

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