Newspaper Article 2015 – Life of Bay’s popular park

Life of Bay’s popular park

A new book on the history of developing Tūtira Country Park has been published by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council.

A Short History of Tūtira Country Park was researched and written by Garth Eyles, the former manager of HBRC’s land management section. The book launch is being held at HBRC today.

Mr Eyles was involved in the establishment of the country park and management plans after HBRC purchased 463 ha of land on the eastern side of the lake from the Guthrie-Smith Trust in 1998. The country park was officially opened to the public in 1999 by then Chairman Ross Bramwell and Isabel Morgan, a long time Forest and Bird advocate for the lake.

The book records significant historical events and developments in the park, and answers questions frequently asked by visitors.

“It was important to capture the knowledge not just of Council staff, but the many groups who have helped to enhance what is now the best known of Hawke’s Bay’s regional parks,” says Chairman Fenton Wilson.

Tūtira Lakes is now an HBRC regional park – recently identified as Hawke’s Bay’s most popular regional park. People visit for camping, picnics, its four walking tracks, for fishing, a place to relax and enjoy the inland countryside. Historically, Tūtira was significant as an important food gathering site for Māori, and as a stop on the eastern coastal route.

From the outset management plans were instigated for the sustainable use of the land. HBRC uses the park to show how steep land can be looked after to minimise soil and nutrient loss, to improve surrounding land and water quality.

Napier Forest and Bird, Greenmeadows Rotary Club, the Department of Conservation, Honda Treefund, Pan Pac Forest Products Ltd, Farm Forestry Association, and many school students are acknowledged in the book for their role in planting days to enhance the wetland, lake surrounds and for contributing to the creation of an arboretum.

The most memorable recent event was Cyclone Bola in 1988 when tonnes of soil were washed off the hillsides into the lake. HBRC continues to apply sustainable management principles to this land, and is currently trialling a plantation of mānuka with Comvita to assess UMF (Ultra Manuka Factor) honey as a potential crop for steep, erodible land in the region.

An earlier book written about the area and the lake was ‘Tūtira: story of a New Zealand sheep station’, written by the first settler who farmed the land, Herbert Guthrie-Smith, which is an internationally respected environmental text.

A Short History of Tūtira County Park is available for $20 from Hawke’s Bay Regional Council reception.

Photo caption – BOOK LAUNCH: Isobel Morgan and Ross Bramwell and Garth Eyles at the official launch of Garth’s book, “A Short History of Tutira Country Park”.

Original digital file



Date published

29 July 2015

Format of the original

Newspaper article


Hawke's Bay Today


  • Garth Eyles
  • Ross Bramwell
  • Isobel Morgan
  • Fenton Wilson
  • Duncan Brown

Accession number


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