Botany Trip: Wright Hill Reserve - Karori Sanctuary - Waimapihi Valley
Sunday 22 November 1998
In Woodhouse Ave we saw Don and Esme Finch's garden of native species, and in Landsdown Tce admired the native planting on the berm outside someone's fence. These sites gave us an idea of the variety of form, foliage and flowers of native plants, a good start, together with a species list given to each participant, for several hours learning to identify common plants. The list was designed to help people whatever their level of knowledge, because it listed the plants by categories, e.g. trees, climbers, ferns, grasses, sedges, etc., and all plants were listed by botanical name and where possible, by Maori and common name.
The list, prepared on trips in Karori Sanctuary in 1996 and 1998, was a useful indicator to what we could expect to find in the adjacent forests on Wright Hill, and in Waimapihi Valley. Thanks to such a large and observant group, we were able to add several species to the list in two hours in Wright Hill Reserve.
John Hart, a keen botanist who has helped on previous botany trips, helped on this trip too, and urged members to consider joining the Karori Sanctuary Wildlife Trust. During the descent to the upper reservoir, we saw one of the few kamahi in the valley, and several large fuchsia/kotukutuku with numbered tags for a possum-browse research project.
We lunched in a sunny, grassy glade below the upper dam. At the forks of "Pakau Gully", a true right tributary, where we left the valley road, are planted red beeches; up the gully we saw several 1 metre tall gully ferns/pakau, and tracking tunnels used to monitor the population of rats.
At the "Lighthouse" in Waimapihi Reserve, we relaxed in the sun. We then tramped up Waimapihi Valley to Ashton Fitchett Drive, past Brooklyn War Memorial Park and down a public right-of-way by No. 37 Sugarloaf Road to Charlotte Ave between Nos 15 and 19. A productive half day of learning, followed by a tramp to the No. 7 bus route.