Park rising from ashes
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.