Please contact us at [email protected] if you are interested in joining the Friends or volunteering on planting days. The Friends’ bank account for donations and membership subs is: Kiwibank 38 9008 0305360 00. Donations are tax-deductible, as the group is now a charity.
OUR VISION FOR THE PEATLANDS
The Friends have spent much of the past three years focused on a campaign to re-wet the park’s extensive peatlands by stopping drainage and restoring with wetland plants. We see this as an urgent action to mitigate climate change and as a valuable tool in educating people about the importance of wetlands in our environment. The campaign included a petition on Action Station that we presented to GWRC during their Parks Network Plan review and ongoing lobbying of regional councillors and council managers. Securing funding for the restoration is our next goal.
The peatlands, which were once part of the Kapiti Coast’s Great Swamp, have been drained for decades and up until last year were farmed by a private licence-holder. The Friends are delighted with Greater Wellington’s decision to re-wet the northern peatlands, all of the flat land between Poplar Avenue and Waterfall Stream parallel to State Highway 1. We are now working with Greater Wellington on a plan to re-wet the southern peatlands, identified by the council as a priority in their latest Parks Network Plan.
Peatlands are rare in New Zealand and are increasingly recognised and valued for the ecosystem service they provide (GWRC Wetlands report for the proposed Natural Resources Plan July 2015) and for their potential as a carbon sink.
The small rare dune swamp kahikatea forest was rescued from neglect and cattle about 1990 by the vigorous efforts of a few locals. Now its area is around 6ha, the result of dedicated planting over the last 10 years, particularly following Community Conservation Fund grants from DOC in 2009 and 2010. This remnant has around 72 native plant species, including kahikatea, nikau, pukatea, milk trees, whau, kohekohe. Swamp maire was recently present and will be re-introduced. Kaka, kakariki, kereru, falcon, cuckoos, morepork, bellbird are recorded.
One of the information boards on the area’s biodiversity that can be found throughout the Park.
STREAM AND WETLAND RESTORATION
Riparian plantings along the Whareroa and Wainui streams and other planting to restore extensive associated wetlands are being carried out. Some of this work has been funded by a targeted grant from GWRC. The rare grass Amphibromus fluitans has been recorded. Giant kokopu, inanga, long finned eel and koura are present.
KAPITI BIODIVERSITY PROJECT
The project over three years used a $300,000 Ministry for the Environment grant to support volunteers to improve biodiversity on the Kapiti Coast. Four main areas were covered – Queen Elizabeth Park, the Paekakariki-Pukerua Bay escarpment, the Whareroa Farm Reserve and part of Perkins farm/Middle Run.
Te Ara o Whareroa, the new family-friendly cycleway through the park, has been enthusiastically received since it opened in January 2016. Developed by GWRC, it provides a link between the communities of Raumati and Paekākāriki and makes it possible to avoid highway traffic when cycling between the two villages. It demonstrates a commitment to the development of healthy sustainable transport options for the Kāpiti Coast and appeals to locals and visitors alike.