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Trip Report – Korohiwa – Kowhai Street tracks, East Harbour Regional Park

Trip Report – 5 September 2015 :   Korohiwa – Kowhai Street tracks, East Harbour Regional Park

In the lee of the Eastbourne hills on a fine day with a cold south-easterly, seeing snow-capped Tapuae o Uenuku to the south, reminded us we could have been in much cooler places.   Our aim was to enter the bottom of the relatively new Korohiwa Track, and emerge on Kowhai Street.   In between is a ridge with a remnant of recovering beech forest adjoining the remainder of the Eastbourne hills forest, dropping away to Butterfly Creek.   We used a Mitcalfe / Horne list of the nearby Muritai and McKenzie tracks as a guide in attempting to hone in on this area.   There were not to be many additions, but it was clear there are differences between the two areas.

Asparagus scandens
If left unchecked, Asparagus scandens can smother and kill native vegetation.
Photo: Jeremy Rolfe.

Because it was a recently renovated track, there were several recordings of planted origin around the entrance.   Two fine Melicope ternata, Sophora tetrapetala, large ngaio and some Coprosma propinqua subsp. propinqua guard the track entrance.   Disturbed shady banks are covered in weed grasses, mainly Erharta erecta.   We climbed slowly through recovering native vegetation under a canopy of gorse.   Track-side were ferns, including Polystichum neozelandicum subsp. zerophyllum, P. oculatum, Blechnum procerum and B. membranaceum.   Orchids included Acianthus sinclarii, Thelymitria longifolia and lots of Pterostylis alobula.   There was wood rush / Luzula picta and plentiful sundew / Drosera auriculata, among the expected Senecio minimus, and the ubiquitous exotic, Senecio glastifolius.

Of concern was Asparagus scandens entangled within the gorse canopy.   Because of limited time, we stuck to the track, but there looked to be very interesting and more mature cover off-track, perhaps harbouring a wider range of native species, and not penetrated by the range of exotic flora we were finding on the track.   The ridgeline had a canopy of Fuscospora solandri and F. truncata with many of the trunks embedded with the roots of Drymoathus adversus, and the forest floor smothered with newly emerged Corybas trilobus.   A large exposed rimu which towered over the recovering forest had clearly survived intense fires of the past as evidenced in the surface gravels.   The Kowhai Street entry to the track is characterised by numerous exotic delights such an unknown palm, agapanthus and Cape ivy, and further up there are regular planted pohutukawa, and banks planted with rengarenga lilies, and some exotic Adiantum raddianum among the natives Adiantum cunninghamii and Lindsea linearis.   However, despite this, there were many delights track-side in full view, such as bunches of Pterostylis alobula and what we thought was Pterostylis cardiostigma.

Participants:   Rhonda Billington, Sam Buckley, Eleanor Burton, Flora Chong, Gavin Dench (co-leader), Michelle Dickson, Chris Hopkins, Rodney Grapes, Richard Grosse, Bryan Halliday, Mick Parsons (co-leader / scribe), Lynne Pomare, Nick Saville, Lara Shepherd, Sunita Singh.


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