Botany Trip - Haywards Scenic Reserve and Beyond
Sunday 16 November 1997
A highlight of this trip was using the little-known access into the reserve from the end of Mawson Street, Waiwhetu. The unofficial-looking "Private Road" sign is indeed unofficial, though it serves to dissuade unwitting motorists from using it. Trampers should ignore it and walk up the narrow street to the bush edge by No. 41 whose red paved driveway is apparently on the legal access to the reserve. The track starts on the true right of the tiny creek, then zigzags up to a spur. Here you have a choice. Either continue up the track to a steep scramble to a fire-break for a view over the Hutt Valley, or descend the track on the spur a short distance and follow a track which goes roughly eastwards through some fine forest towards the track system which starts at the top of Whites Line East. We did both.
Christine, John and Ken had been on previous club botany trips, so this outing served as a refresher, and to extend knowledge of native and weed species. We each had a copy t a species list prepared by Wellington Botanical Society, so could tick off plants as we identified them, and make notes about their distinguishing characteristics, including their habitat, e.g., gully, dry spur crest, bush edge, etc. We noted serious infestations of ginger and climbing asparagus above Tyndall Street, and a group of tawa severely browsed by possums. Among the tree species we saw were hard and black beeches, kohekohe, titoki, kareka, hinau pukatea a large rimu, and nikau New Zealand's only palm. Greenhood orchids and manuka were in flower. We heard bellbirds, fantails, grey warblers, kingfishers, tui and waxeyes, though none was numerous.
From the large rimu we followed the track through mature forest, and later, second-growth forest, to the Eastern Hutt Hills ridge. Then we tramped north-east to the firebreak down the spur to Naenae Reservoir (built 1946; capacity 2.5 million gallons). Finally we walked down Summit Road and along suburban streets to the train at Epuni Station.