Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Pekapeka Wetlands, Hawkes Bay

The Pekapeka Wetlands have a chequered history, from being an early Maori pa site, to post-European drainage, a railway line dissecting them, and being a dumping ground, to being over run with willow trees. In about 2000, the process of bringing the area back to a healthy wetland ecosystem began. I read about the wetlands as part of the promotional material I was researching before our weekend in the Bay, so I made sure we included it in our itinerary, as George and I are both developing our own wetland areas at home (see my post called 'Dursley Wetlands - the Beginning', from Nov last year).

I was really keen to see what the various agencies had done to develop this major wetland area adjacent to SH2, 10 minutes south of Hastings. I was not disappointed. The design cohesion from the car park and entry area with rustically stylish bollards and rail fences, right through to the board walks, picnic tables and info signs, I was really impressed. Not only vandal proof, and naturalistic, but also linking to the railway line that cuts through the middle of the wetland - with jarrah railway sleepers, and corten steel details. Very nicely done.

One of the info signs - keeping to the theme of timber and steel.  
I LOVE these picnic tables. No problem with these being blown over in the wind.
Away from the car park, I was interested to see how they had approached the hillside planting. Obviously a strong theme of Hebe parvifolia, or similar, as the colonising nurse crop, with the taller trees emerging through. This will only get better with time, as the trees gain height (totara, hoheria, ribbonwood, kowhai etc), possibly shutting out the hebe all together, ready for under-story planting in 10 years time.
Hebe are the main nurse crop, being fast growing - they provide shade and shelter for the slower growing,
but longer term trees, which are just starting to push through the hebes. 
Really sturdy and nicely curved board walks. 
Some of the dumped building materials, from last century, have been left exposed, as a reminder of how the wetland
was once treated, seen here on the hill at the end of the board walk. 

This is a great location to stop off for a leg stretch on the journey north, but also a great project to keep an eye on if you are intending on any sort of revegetation or wetland development of your own.

No comments:

Post a Comment