The 242ha William Upton Hewett Reserve is north-west of Whangarei, between Pipiwai and Titoki. The reserve is comprised of a mosaic of kauri-podocarp-broadleaf forest, gumland shrubland, dry heathland, and a large wetland.
Native Forest Restoration Trust aim to plant on around 22 hectares of the land. This goal has been in motion since 2017 and it is the group’s hope by 2021 it will be complete.
55.2 hectares, over 20% of the reserve, was destroyed by fire at the beginning of 2014. Of vegetation types destroyed; 21.7 hectares were regenerating forest and 33.5 hectares were gumland/heathland shrubland flora. Initial efforts following the fire focused on weeding and seed collecting but in 2017 we also started planting native regeneration patches.
William Upton Hewett Reserve supports five threatened fauna species, one regionally significant bird species, ten threatened plant taxa and 16 regionally significant plant taxa. The reserve contains a high diversity of orchids, several of which are regionally significant and threatened.
Through Trees That Count, thanks to Mazda’s support the group is receiving 2500 trees to contribute towards this project. Sandy from the Trust relayed “Providing more trees will enable us to reach our goal more quickly, especially as the manuka is getting bigger all the time. The long-term vision for the William Upton Hewett Reserve is to conserve and enhance the natural vegetation, provide habitat for fernbird and kiwi and to provide biodiversity links with the Department of Conservation Papa Kuri Scenic Reserve to the north.”
Planting will be maintained, mainly through effective weed and pest control, and monitored by the Reserve Manager with support from volunteers and contractors. This is one of the many initiatives the Trust has completed over the years, their restoration efforts are enhancing the beautiful landscape of New Zealand.