Reserve is a thriving activity
Waitoetoe Reserve in west Palmerston North is a Manawatu River park with a difference.
There’s wilderness, remnant native forest, seasonal wetlands, river access, open spaces, abundant birdlife and a wide range of environments for fun, relaxation and recreation.
With good access and tracks, the reserve is used by walkers, cyclists, Palmy Rocks, dog owners, nut-foragers, and flax-weavers, along with community groups including schools and kindergartens that go out on children’s planting and maintenance sessions.
Waitoetoe Reserve is unique in the city because of its unmanaged wilderness areas adjacent to the river.
In the 1970s, local residents who were forerunners of Waitoetoe Reserve Community (WRC), started planting trees to renovate vacant land and rejuvenate a precious remnant of native forest known as Bill’s Bush.
It was named after Bill Regnault, a resident of Buick Cres and passionate conservationist, who became the de-facto custodian of the reserve.
Regnault and others, including the Manawatu Tree Trust, expanded the remnant by planting native trees. Now many fine specimens of kahikatea and totara are testimony to long hours tending and watering plants to ensure survival.
A long-term management plan for Waitoetoe Reserve is in the process of being finalised by the council in discussion with residents.
The WRC organise and support community participation through working bees, ad hoc maintenance and small projects that include upkeep of planted and bush areas, and the planting of native plants and nut and fruit for forage trees.
Its promotion of native revegetation and biodiversity has resulted in a wide range of birdlife in the reserve.
Working bees are organised on the last Sunday of each month (except December) - 10am to 12pm. The invitation is for anyone to join in to plant native trees, shrubs, and fruit and nut trees; restore native vegetation; release and mulch plants, and remove weeds. See WRC’s Facebook or ring Jenny 358 2905 or Heather 354 1765.
Katrin Jones and Mike Patterson plant a walnut tree during April’s Earth Day.
Troy Duckworth and his son Dallas Duckworth, 3, plant during Earth Day in April