Na­tive re­serve’s prin­ci­pal driver step­ping down

Wairarapa News - - FRONT PAGE - PIERS FULLER

‘‘It's sat­is­fy­ing to meet the chal­lenge of cre­at­ing a to­tally na­tive for­est in an ur­ban set­ting.’’

Tak­ing a tour through Mil­le­nium Re­serve with Ge­orge Bain you soon re­alise that he knows just about ev­ery one of its 40,000-plus na­tive trees.

The chair­man of the Friends of Mil­le­nium Na­tive For­est Re­serve that has trans­formed the bar­ren 5.5ha waste­land in Master­ton’s west side into a na­tive won­der­land is step­ping down.

Knock­ing on the door of his eight­ies, Bain has been down im­prov­ing the re­serve al­most ev­ery­day for the last 15 years.

‘‘It’s sat­is­fy­ing to meet the chal­lenge of cre­at­ing a to­tally na­tive for­est in an ur­ban set­ting. I en­joy see­ing peo­ple lis­ten­ing to birds and com­muning with na­ture in its raw state,’’ he said.

By his own es­ti­ma­tion, the re­serve is about 80 per cent of the way to where it should be, but it is time for new blood to take the reins.

Gifted by the Master­ton Lands Trust and now in a QE II Trust Con­venant the block on the cor­ner of Hill­crest and Pow­nall streets is an in­ter­est­ing piece of ter­rain. Once home to a trout hatch­ery, the Lands Trust once had plans to build a res­i­den­tial vil­lage on the land.

This con­cept was put in the too hard bas­ket when they re­alised the fault­line and re­sult­ing nat­u­ral springs were ren­der­ing much of the land un­in­hab­it­able.

In 2002 the Mil­le­nium Re­serve Na­tive For­est Trust was formed as Master­ton South Ro­tary and Wairarapa Branch of For­est & Bird project and Bain was elected at the chair­man.

Liv­ing just up the road, Bain re­stricted him­self to one and half hours in the re­serve six days a week. Or rather, his wife said that was as much as see could tol­er­ate.The key ini­tia­tives on the hori­zon are the plant­ing of a fur­ther 2000 plants and Bain would also like to see a step up in pest con­trol. The re­serve has been sup­ported and worked on by mem­bers of For­est and Bird, Ro­tary and var­i­ous vol­un­teers and is home to na­tive birds such as fan­tail, tui, pukeko, sil­ver­eye, king­fisher, scaup, hawk and grey war­bler.

Many of the mem­bers of the Trust’s com­mit­tee feel they have done their time and have opted to step down at the AGM this week along­side Bain. They are hop­ing to find new and en­thu­si­as­tic mem­bers to take the project for­ward, Bain said.

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