Transforming a gully to a walkway
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.