Mak­ing the most of Moon­shine Val­ley

The Tribune (NZ) - - COMMUNITY COOKBOOK - RUS­SELL POOLE, ENM

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.

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