Trans­form­ing a gully to a walk­way

Te Puke Times - - NEWS -

An over­grown, junk-filled gully in Maketu¯ has been trans­formed at the hands of a bunch of vol­un­teers into a walk­way that takes pride of place within the vil­lage.

The Ko­tuku­tuku Gully opened in 2010 after a three-year restora­tion by lo­cal res­i­dents, led by the late Trevor Hughes and with the bless­ing of landowners Te Arawa Lakes Trust.

Trevor’s en­thu­si­asm in­spired a band of lo­cal vol­un­teers to dig in and un­cover the beauty of the ugly gully. In ded­i­ca­tion to Trevor’s legacy, vol­un­teers con­tinue with equal pas­sion to pre­serve and en­hance ‘Trev’s gully’ through reg­u­lar work­ing bees, on­go­ing gar­den­ing and plant­ing.

Maketu¯ Ro­tar­i­ans also con­trib­ute to the gully.

They reg­u­larly plant trees and the in­for­ma­tion/his­tory board at the gully’s en­trance is one of sev­eral signs spon­sored by Ro­tary along the his­tor­i­cal walk around Maketu¯.

The gully project sprang from the Maketu¯ Com­mu­nity Plan (2007) and was de­vel­oped with help from West­ern Bay of Plenty District Coun­cil. The plan in­cluded among its key ac­tions the de­vel­op­ment of walk­ways to his­tor­i­cal and sig­nif­i­cant sites.

The Ko­tuku­tuku Gully, at the time buried be­neath the jun­gle of over­growth and dis­carded rub­bish, was an area steeped in his­tory.

It was a gar­den for food and medic­i­nal plants for the orig­i­nal Ma¯ori oc­cu­pants who ar­rived in Maketu¯ on the Arawa waka and was a track used by Ma¯ori war­riors in the cap­ture of the pa¯ on kurei Point dur­ing in­ter-tribal wars.

To­day vis­i­tors and lo­cals en­joy the tran­quil­lity of the gully and its show­case of more than 2000 na­tive and ex­otic trees, fruit and nut trees, all of which help cre­ate a habi­tat cor­ri­dor for bird life.

It’s also a pop­u­lar venue for lo­cal pic­nics, out­door entertainment and is a handy walk­ing link from up­per to lower Maketu¯.

Gully project co­or­di­na­tor Lauri Russell says the ef­fort to main­tain the gully falls onto a small core of vol­un­teers with lim­ited re­sources who put in hours of me­chan­i­cal weed eat­ing, hand weed­ing and plant­ing. New mem­bers and helpers are al­ways welcome — es­pe­cially to the reg­u­lar work­ing bees.

Vol­un­teers use their own equip­ment but are grateful for on­go­ing sup­port from Coun­cil for reg­u­lar mow­ing of the walk­way, two weed eaters spon­sored by Ro­tary and the Com­mu­nity Board and more re­cently, fund­ing from the Bay of Plenty Re­gional Coun­cil for weed con­trol.

Any­one keen to con­trib­ute a few hours a month to the gully’s care is welcome to join the vol­un­teer band — just con­tact Lauri Russell on im­prove27@gmail.com and check out Ko­tuku­tuku Gully Maketu¯ on Face­book.

Na­tional Vol­un­teer Week starts on Sun­day. The week is a time to cel­e­brate the 1.2 mil­lion Ki­wis who vol­un­teer in our com­mu­ni­ties ev­ery year. West­ern Bay of Plenty District Coun­cil lends a hand to many vol­un­tary or­gan­i­sa­tions and groups across the district — in­clud­ing the Maketu¯ Ko­tuku­tuku Gully group. ¯ O

Ko­tuku­tuku Gully vol­un­teers from left, Jim Russell, Ruth Hughes and Lauri Russell.

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