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Trip Report - Karehana Bay Scenic Reserve, Plimmerton

Trip Report – 6 March 2010:   Karehana Bay Scenic Reserve, Plimmerton

Six people on their first outing with BotSoc joined thirteen members on The Track, near the entrance to the reserve

Olearia solandri
Olearia solandri.   Photo: Jeremy Rolfe.
Access is by a high quality walkway with 340 steps, built by Porirua City Council (PCC).   We botanised down to the Reserve Rd entrance through vigorously regenerating forest on the upper slopes, and mature coastal broadleaf in the gullies.   The understorey is recovering because of Greater Wellington Regional Council’s possum control work – GWRC has declared the reserve a Key Native Ecosystem and the costs are shared 50/50 with PCC.   We used a plant list prepared by Pat Enright, Peter Beveridge, Olaf John, Chris Horne and Barbara Mitcalfe.   The numerous titoki seedlings indicate that possum control is working.   Weeds seen included: eleagnus, climbing asparagus, Darwin’s barberry and, especially on the lower slopes, tradescantia – wandering willie.

From Reserve Rd we walked to the Cluny Rd entrance to the reserve, and followed a rough route up a stream-bed, scoured in places up to 1.5m deep, to the top boundary.   As we scrambled up banks, through mud, and supplejack vines, we saw numerous kohekohe seedlings, more evidence of possum control, and adult trees to 80 cm diameter, some with last year’s fruit, and some with flower buds.   Spider webs shimmered in the sun, and we saw several kereru and fantails.   Thread fern provided dense groundcover in some areas, and wharangi trees up to 30 cm diameter were noted.   Near the lunch spot, in the sun, was an Olearia solandri / coastal tree daisy with almond-like scented flowers.

We crossed a ‘paper road’ and climbed the boundary fence of the proposed QEII Open Space Covenant and thank the Brew family for permission to botanise this significant 11-ha coastal forest.   The understorey was almost non-existent, but small seedlings of shrub and tree species show good potential for recovery.   It is kohekohe forest with wharangi, tree ferns, and occasional kahikatea, rimu, matai, miro and nikau in the canopy.   Metrosideros perforata / white rata and Metrosideros fulgens were in flower, and we saw 20 cm seedpods on kaihua / NZ jasmine.   We added to the list a black maire sapling, and the saprophytic black orchid – Gastrodia cunninghamii.   There wasn’t time to botanise more than the upper level and round to Taua Tapu Track, from where we returned to the cars.   We hope to visit this covenant and one nearby in future.


Karehana Bay Scenic Reserve Management Plan (Draft) , PCC, February 2001.

Participants :   Janet Berry, Tonoko and Charles Burden, Barbara Clark (co-leader), Rosemary Collier, Rae Collins (co-leader), Gavin Dench, Joy Griffiths, Bryan Halliday, Chris Horne, Brenda Johnston, Rodney Lewington, Pat McLean, Barbara Mitcalfe, Darea Sherratt, Sunita Singh, Sandy Werner, Carol West and Sandra Worthington.

Rae Collins and Barbara Clark


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