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Trip Report – Forest of Tane, Tawa, Wellington

Trip Report – 2 September 2017 :   Forest of Tane, Tawa, Wellington

Forest of Tane is a welcome addition to WCC’s Outer Green Belt, part of the open-space network, purchased early 2017.   Public access is via a driveway at 58C Kiwi Cres, Redwood, Tawa, which is shared with three private residential neighbours.   A good turnout of 19 people assembled at the road entrance, including new participant, Ursula Torres, who found us almost by accident, having initially followed a link to events on the F&B web site, then locating Sunita’s mobile phone number as leader of an earlier BotSoc trip, and so asked her for directions.

The Forest of Tane block comprises 32ha adjoining the Tawa side of Spicer Forest.   It comprises about 40% coverage of neglected pine plantation, with extensive native regeneration in the understorey, and a small tawa / kohekohe remnant.   Steep gullies through the block provide the catchment for three tributaries that make up ‘Spicer Stream’ that thence flows through suburban Tawa to join Porirua Stream.

We followed an early farm-access 4WD track meandering along the streamside, and then up a spur along the eastern edge of the block to the main ridgeline through a portion of Spicer Forest, to reach the Meridian road above Porirua’s Spicer Landfill.   We then retraced our steps.   A few short off-track peeks were enough to whet the appetite for the need for a more extensive survey when the ground surface is much drier.

Knightia excelsa

Rewarewa / Knightia excelsa seedling.     Photo: Jeremy Rolfe.

We made extensive additions to an initial preliminary list created by Chris Horne on the day of the official opening public walk earlier in the year.   Highlights included:
•   adding three tree-fern species to the two species already on the list;
•   seeing seedlings of tree species able to become canopy species, or even large emergents, e.g., titoki, rewarewa, hinau, kohekohe, tawa;
•   adding supplejack, mature and seedlings, and nikau seedlings;
•   finding crepe fern not otherwise known to exist in the Tawa area;
•   seeing weeds to control, including tradescantia, climbing asparagus, banana passionfruit sp., old man’s beard, blackberry cotoneaster and native species e.g., karaka, lacebark / Hoheria populnea, karo and Pittosporum ralphii, which are not naturally occurring in Wellington Ecological District;
•   finding a single Darwin’s barberry seedling - not previously known in the Tawa area, obviously been brought in by birds;
•   adding kaka and waxeye to the list of native birds, and house sparrow, hedge sparrow / dunnock and blackbird to the list of introduced birds.   (Not seen on this trip, but known to also exist in the area are kakariki and korimako / bellbird);
•   noting possum-control line markers.   It is essential that possum control continues.

Participants : Peter Beveridge, Barry Blackett, Eleanor Burton, Gavin Dench, Michele Dickson, Jenny Fraser, Richard Herbert and Margaret Herbert (Leaders / scribes), Chris Hopkins, Chris Horne, Rodney Lewington, Chris Moore, Leon Perrie, Lara Shepherd, Darea Sherratt, Sunita Singh, Ursula Torres, Julia White, David Willyams.


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