Making the most of Moonshine Valley
Moonshine Valley is a somewhat hidden away, not so frequently visited part of Palmerston North that harbours some outstanding ecological values.
The ka¯ka¯riki (green gecko), seldom seen elsewhere, survives here in small numbers. Bird life includes kereru¯ (wood pigeons), ka¯rearea (native falcons), ruru (moreporks), tu¯ı¯ and korimako (bellbirds).
The creek contains surprisingly rich aquatic life. One of the most notable stands of kahikatea (white pine) in the district is found here, along with fine specimens of rimu, to¯tara, tı¯toki, tawa, northern ra¯ta¯, ka¯mahi, hı¯nau and ka¯nuka
The valley is home to two council reserves. The 14.23ha Tutukiwi Reserve gained its name when local resident Barry Scott found tutukiwi (hooded orchids) growing beside the stream. Moonshine Valley Reserve is smaller, running from one side of the valley to the other.
Over many years serious damage has been done to the remnant bush and regenerating forest by possums. Aided and abetted by rats, stoats and weasels, the possums have also made a big dent in native wildlife.
In a counterattack, the Palmerston North City Council supplied local residents with traps at a well-attended gathering on Saturday, September 17 this year.
As part of the same event 150 trees, including 20 kahikatea, were planted in the Tutukiwi Reserve.
Weeds remain a major concern, according to Scott. Worst is tradescantia (wandering willie), which has spread down the creek and is stifling regeneration of native undergrowth. Other invaders are old man’s beard and blackberry.
Nevertheless, he hopes that with concerted efforts on the part of local authorities and volunteers, Moonshine Valley can realise its potential as a wonderful forest reserve for the city.
With the future creation of walkways, Moonshine Valley would link naturally to Palmerston North’s existing Green Corridors in Aokautere and Turitea, expanding recreational and environmental amenities in this part of the city.
An example of dense remnant bush with epiphytes in Moonshine Valley’s Tutukiwi Reserve.