Nature and history: Remutaka Forest Park, Wellington

Introduction

Early Maori used the Remutakas as refuge and food source, and a major trail crossed the range. Beech forest dominates the Remutaka ranges and relocated kiwi live alongside native bellbirds, tui, kaka, kereru and ruru.

Maori history

Early Maori used the Remutaka Range as a refuge between tribal wars and a food source. One of their major trails traversed the range between Waiorongomai in the east and Lowry Bay in the west.

Vegetation

Geological, tectonic and climatic forces have shaped the vegetation pattern of the Remutaka Range.

Beech forest dominates much of the range, joined by podocarps at lower altitudes, and kamahi, a predominant canopy tree (with emergent trees like rimu, rata, miro, hinau, rewarewa and maire in some areas). The south end of the range, where most of the original forest has been destroyed by fire, is covered at lower altitudes by shrub woods like manuka, tauhini, rangiora and heketara with some emergent hinau and rewarewa.

Wildlife

Eight species of moa once roamed the area which still contains some native birdlife, including bellbirds, tui, kaka, kereru and ruru.

Red deer, goats, pigs and possums are also present. Recreational hunting is encouraged except in the Catchpool Valley, within 200 metres of the Orongorongo River and the Landcare research area where, because of a high level of public use, discharging of firearms is prohibited.

The Remutaka Forest Park Trust began releasing North Island brown kiwi into the park in May 2006. It was the first ever kiwi translocation planned and executed entirely by an independent trust.

Volunteers from the trust and local tramping groups spent two years controlling stoats in a 1000 ha area to provide a safe habitat for the release of up to 20 kiwi from BNZ Kiwi Recovery.

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