Scenic Reserves in Hawke’s Bay




The Ball’s Clearing Scenic Reserve is situated 40 miles by road from Napier.  It is reached by travelling to Puketitiri and then proceeding a further 3 miles along Hot Springs Road.

Prior to European settlement there was a tract of some 10,000 acres of heavy bush in the Puketitiri District.  It was known as the Puketitiri Bush and was subdivided for settlement by the Crown in the 1880’s. The Ball’s Clearing Scenic Reserve is the last remnant of this bush in its virgin state. It was preserved because it is an outstanding example of a pure podocarp forest of unusual density. The timber content of the main area is of the order of 100,000 super feet board measurement per acre which would compare favourably with maximum yield anywhere in New Zealand. A survey made some years ago assesses the distribution of timber trees at Rimu 46%, Kahikatea 36%, Miro 11%, Matai 5½% Beech 1½%. The bush is of great interest to ecologists and has attracted the attention of overseas scientists. The big trees have straight unbranched boles and have a remarkably close and level canopy some 100 feet high.

Within the original 10,000 acres of the Puketitiri bush there was a natural clearing of about 90 acres. The scientific theory for the existence of the saucer shaped natural clearing in the very heart of the one time great Puketitiri Forest is that it was subject to such severe frosts as to preclude forest seedlings from being able to establish themselves. The clearing grew native grasses, tussock, mosses and sedges, part of it being a boggy swamp. The name ”Ball’s Clearing” derives from one John Ball who took up a 176 acres area of Crown Land nearby in 1890 at a purchase price of £130. The story goes that Jack (as he was known) arrived at his section to find that, the huge forest trees on it were so close together that he was unable to find a space large enough between them to erect a hut so he therefore cut a track to the clearing and erected his hut there. A Government Official discovered this and asked Jack if he knew he was trespassing, but when the position was explained he agreed to the hut remaining at the clearing. With the opening up of the Puketitiri bush manuka came into the clearing and fear of fire danger to the main reserve resulted in it being cultivated and grassed.

The area reserved for scenic purposes is 234 acres which includes some 90 acres of virgin timber, and a separate regeneration area of some 50 acres. The regeneration area was milled about 15 years ago and is showing remarkably good regeneration. There is also a swamp of about 10 acres containing typical water-loving plants. The Lands and Survey Department purchased land adjoining the reserve in 1954 for farming purposes. These farming operations are designed to reduce the risk of the reserve being damaged by fire. A picnic and carparking area has been established adjoining the road where there are toilets and concrete fireplaces. Water is obtainable at a stream at the south end of the picnic area. There are good walking tracks through the reserve and name labels have been placed on specimen trees.

Bird life, includes pigeons, tui, bell-birds, fantails, rifleman, grey warblers, tom-tits, robins and the morepork. There is also a colony of native long-tailed bats.

The reserve is controlled by the Ball’s Clearing Scenic Reserve Board comprising the Commissioner of Crown Lands who is Chairman, and five other members appointed because of their interest and knowledge of the preservation of forest areas and bird life. Secretarial and accounting duties are attended to by the Lands and Survey Department Napier.

Additional Notes:- Bush 89 acres, Altitude 2,000 ft.


Bellbird Bush is situated on Pohukura Road about 36½ miles north of Napier and 2½ miles past Opouahi Scenic Reserve. Like Opouahi Scenic Reserve, Bellbird Scenic Reserve was previously part of the Opouahi Farm Settlement.

It is made up of two physically separate portions comprising 58 acres and 65 acres totalling in all 122 acres of thick cut over bush with good regeneration.  The 58 acre area has road access and a little easy country adjacent to it and then drops steeply to a creek in the west.  Old logging tracks afford some access.  The 64 acre area has a moderate to steep westerly slope, the top of which provides a panoramic view of northern Hawke’s Bay.  Access is not so good to this part of the reserve.

The indigenous flora includes an abundance of fern and punga growth along with native trees such as Rimu, or Red Pine (Dacrydium cupressinum) which is the most widely occuring native tree, growing in low ultitude [altitude] forests of both Islands and is the most used native timber, Totara, Red and Black Beech, Raukawa, Kamai, Hinau, Toro and Lacewood.  Native birds, particularly bellbirds, from which the scenic reserve derives its name are found in both areas.

The bellbird is the outstanding vocalist of the bushland choirs and is revalled [rivalled] only by the tui. Its Maori name is Korimako. This scenic reserve is an ideal place to visit, combining beautiful bush with native birdlife.


Cape Kidnapper Bird Sanctuary consisting of 32 acres was gifted to the Crown in 1914 by Mr. F.L. Gordon. In 1960 Black Reef was included in the Sanctuary. The sanctuary is the worlds only mainland gannet colony.

It is situated 13 miles south-east of Napier and 13 miles east of Hastings to the Clifton Domain. There is a five mile walk along the beach before the climb up the hill to where the gannets nest.

The gannets are found on the sanctuary from late July. Eggs are laid mainly in October and the young chicks appear about 43-44 days later.  This is the best time to visit the sanctuary as migration begins about February and March and by April most of the birds have gone. The young birds migrate to Australia where they stay for about two years, while the adult birds disperse around the New Zealand coasts leaving the sanctuary deserted for about 5 months of the year.

The gannet, an awkward bird on the ground, is extremely graceful in flight. He is seen at his best when fishing.  The birds crash-dive from heights of up to 80 feet, plunging into the water at terrific speed, estimated to be about 90 m.p.h, penetrating up to 10 or 15 feet.  The skull of the gannet is especially strong to withstand the impact, while special air-sacs in the chest are inflated to cushion the internal organs.

Permits must first be obtained before anyone can visit the sanctuary. At weekends and during the summer vacation the Junior Wildlife Wardens meet visitors and show them round the sanctuary. Cape Kidnappers was given its name by Captain Cook after his Tahitian interpreter was kidnapped by the Maoris, to be returned only after a large ransom had been paid. Cape Kidnappers is known to the Maori as Te Matau a Maui.

Control is vested in the Cape Kidnappers Bird Sanctuary Board, which comprises nine members under the chairmanship of the Commissioner of Crown Lands.

Cape Kidnapper Bird Sanctuary is a must to visit for anyone who is at all interested in birds and it is of special value to the ornithologist.


The Elsthorpe Scenic Reserve is in two parts approximately ½ mile apart with a stream running between the two areas. The land was originally set aside as a scenic reserve in 1896 when the Elsthorpe Estate was opened up for settlement. The area consists of about 91 acres and is situated in a low rainfall area. The reserve is controlled by the Lands and Survey Department.

The area which is noted mainly for its bush, contains Kahikatea, White Pine, Matai, Tawa and Titoki. Totara, Mahoe and Lemonwood are not so abundant as the other species.  There is fast seedling regeneration of Tawa and Titoki but Kahikatea and Lemonwood are not so frequent.

The problem of blackberry infestation is becoming noticeable and periodically willows have to be removed from the Makara Stream to stop flooding. Grants are made available for this and black-berry control.

The reserve which is situated 13 miles east of Waipawa, would be an interesting place to visit with its attractive stand of native bush and pleasant surroundings.


The area comprising Fernbird Bush was originally owned by Mr. J. N. Lowry but was transferred to the Crown round about 1963.  Prior to the land being transferred to the Crown it had been suggested that the section be transferred to the N.Z. Forest and Bird Protection Society. However, it was later decided to make the area a reserve and appoint the N.Z. Forest and Bird Protection Society to control and manage. The land was reserved in 1965 but the Forest and Bird Protection Society decided that they did not want control vested in themselves but would keep a watch over the area so control was vested in the Commissioner of Crown Lands, Lands and Survey Dept., Napier.

The reserve is located on the Napier-Taihape Road, 42 miles west of Napier.  It contains about 75 acres and is approximately 2300 feet above sea level. The area consits [consists] of moderate hills lying to the south of the road. The catchment of a small stream and boundaries to the east and west of this area are along the tops of the two low ridges.

Cover is predominantly fern and manuka with some beech trees along the creek bed. Soils consist of Moumahaki sandy loam, a low fertility sandstone and conglomerate derivative, subject to some slow heating erosion.

From a botanic point of view the reserve is uninteresting but it is the habitat of the fernbird, the numbers of which have diminished considerably in Hawke’s Bay. Being poor fliers their numbers were reduced with the burning of shrub and fern in the early days.

This reserve would be the place to visit for anyone who is interested in the life habits of the fernbird.


Hurumua Scenic Reserve is situated in farmland on the riverflats of the Wairoa River about 4 miles from Wairoa. It is reached by travelling a half a mile along Awamate Road from the Napier-Wairoa highway and walking some 200 yards across a paddock on the north-west side of the road. Altitude is about 35 feet above sea level.

The scenic reserve was established to safeguard the rare shrub Pittosporum obcordatum which is believed to be the only known surviving stand of its kind.  Because the reservation is so small only half an acre, it does not attract much attention.  It is, however, extremely popular with botanists.

The Scenic Reserve contains a good stand of forest with an area of tall exotic grass and shrubs surrounded by pasture. There are a number of scattered trees and shrubs in the vicinity of the reserve.  The forest is greatly dominated by Kahikatea (Podocarpus dacrydioides) which have very straight trunks. The trees probably date from the time the land was last cleared which was in the latter half of the century. The reserve also contains lacebark (Hoheria augustifolia), cabbage tree (Cordyline australis), pokaka (Elacocarpus hookerianus) and matai (Podocarpus spicatus) underneath a canopy of trees. There is, of course, the rare shrub pittosporum obcordatum which was originally discovered in 1920 by the late Mr. G.O.K. Sainsbury a well known botanist. The plant has a low-lying wet habitat and consists of all sizes ranging from seedlings to adult shrubs 10 or more feet high.  Taller plants estimated to be 15 feet high are still surviving outside the reserve. Plant regeneration is very satisfactory.

The area was donated to the Crown by Mr. E. T. Carroll of Hurumua who owns the surrounding land, and was reserved as a scenic reserve in 1937.  It is controlled by the Commissioner of Crown Lands, Napier.

Because of the rare plant, special care and attention has been granted to the reserve to ensure the plant’s survival.  A botanist from the D.S.I.R. has pointed out the introduction of cuttings or of plants raised from seed for that matter, would jeopardize any detailed study of the biology of the species in its native habitat that might be undertaken in the future.

Recently, the Pittosporum obcordatum was declared a “threatened species” by the National Parks Authority.

Though small, this reserve is a valuable one; perhaps not so much to the visiting public but at least to the botanist.


This interesting scenic reserve is situated at Puketitiri some 35 miles north-west of Napier.

The reserve was originally part of an extensive block of Podocarp forest along the boundary of the northern Ruahine and Kaweka Range.  It is 2000 feet above see level and as it is situated fairly close to the ranges it is not unusual for it to have occasional falls of snow in the winter.

In November of 1936 Mrs. Amy Hutchinson advised that her husband wished to donate an area of some 274 acres including a bush edge of 88 acres to the Government.  Mr. Hutchinson had originally bought the area with the intention of preserving it for future generations by giving it as a Bush Reserve to Hawke’s Bay. The area contained many beautiful native trees and birds and it was seen that the land could have great possibilities from the botanical point of view. Mr. and Mrs. Hutchinson handed over the area and requested that it be used for the purpose of a public domain but it was later decided to make the bush area a scenic reserve as there are so very few in Hawke’s Bay and the remainder was to become a public domain.

Mr. and Mrs. Hutchinson approved of this idea and so it was decided that the reserves be called the Hutchinson Scenic Reserve and the Hutchinson Domain respectively. About 88 acres approximately became the scenic reserve, the remainder comprising the domain.

An area of 9½ acres was obtained from Messrs. Robert Holt and Sons in exchange for an area at the north east corner of the reserve, that had no scenic value at all.  A protection belt of radiata was planted round the bush in the reserve.  Both the domain and the scenic reserve were fenced so as to keep stock from destroying the bush.

In 1940 Mr. Hutchinson died and in his will he bequethed [bequeathed] $[£]6000 to the Hutchinson Scenic Reserve Board to be used for the upkeep of the reserve.

In the drought year of 1946 the reserve was badly damaged by fire.  However, several thousand dollars were received from the sale of these damaged trees and this money was used to re-establish the bush by carrying out large replanting programmes.

Protective exotic plantings were undertaken about 1950 and in 1959-1960. In late 1949 a house was built on the reserve and a caretaker was employed to look after the bush. However, in 1953 his services terminated and since then the house has been let to various persons.  For the last few years the house has been let to the New Zealand Forest Service for one of their employees.

The soil in the reserve consists of Ngaroaia sandy silt soil and partly Moumakoki sandy loam. The area is broken by two small tributaries of the Inangatahi Stream which eventually drain into the Mohaka River. Rainfall averages 74 inches per annum with very heavy precipitation. Frosts sometimes approach 16° maximum. Prevailing winds are north west and southerly.

Regeneration of many of the species of trees is apparent especially kahikatea. Crown fern covers the forest floor in the south east corner of the reserve, and Hoheria is established on the north western face of the main bush;  pepperwood (Dremys colorata) and Coprosma form an open shrub tier and maire occurs on the margins of the larger bush stands.  All these species of trees and plants combine to form a really magnificent scenic reserve.

The Hutchinson Scenic Reserve is controlled by a local board with the Commissioner of Crown Lands as Chairman. The members consist of people who are all interested in seeing these all too rare stands of native bush preserved.


Makirikiri Scenic Reserve is located 2½ miles south of Dannevirke. The total area is 38 acres of which 19 acres is in light bush containing several good stands of Rimu, Matai, White Pine and Totara. The balance of the area is leased.

The reserve was originally established in 1923 and vested in the Dannevirke Borough Council. In the past few years a number of mixed native trees have been planted by the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society.  About 1961 Wekas were liberated in the scenic reserve and in the Woodville Domain.

At present the reserve is under the control of the Lands and Survey Department but negotiations are being carried out to vest the control in the Dannevirke Borough Council.


Mangatutu Thermal Springs are more commonly known as the Puketitiri Hot Springs.

The Spring flows from a cliff face along the Mohaka River north-east of Puketitiri Township and runs in a bed to the waterfall, where it plunges into a pool. Above the spring site is a plateau, ideal for picnics. The area abounds in game and fish. The main portion of the reserve is easy lying and covered with fern and patches of shrub. The reserve consists of approximately 29 acres and was reserved in 1914.

It appears that in 1911 or thereabouts invalids may have been taken to the springs in the hope of being cured.  Waters from the spring were reputed to be very beneficial in relieving pain in certain orthopaedic ailments.

It was not thought that the area had any especially unique qualities.  The question of access was extremely difficult especially with regard to motor vehicles. A track, however, was formed by about 1936 but was only used by pig hunters and deer-stalkers who hunted on the adjoining back country. As a result nothing much was done to develop the reserve. There were suggestions of building a road but this did not eventuate.

In 1956 a report was received which stated that the springs were becoming increasingly popular. In 1962 a group of people interested in the springs got together to see what they could do to improve access to the springs and therefore make them more popular. A road was formed and this was financed with money raised from contributions and grants. However, because of heavy rain it has once more become almost impossible for any vehicles other than jeeps to go over it. Access at the present time is still extremely difficult and as a result the springs are not frequented so much by visitors.

An investigation of the springs revealed that the temperature was 125°F. and that the flow was 30 gallons per minute.

The Mangatutu Thermal Springs are controlled by the Lands and Survey Department.

It is unfortunate that this spring has never been developed to its fullest as it could become very popular with the overseas tourist as well as New Zealanders.


Mangaone Cave Scenic Reserve consists of approximately 2 acres. It is situated on the Mangaone Valley road about 7 miles west of Morere Hot Springs Hotel. The present legal access from Mangaone Valley Road is up a steep unformed limestone bluff onto easy rolling country lying along and behind the cliff top. There is an easier way but this however, is over privately owned land.

The cave mouth situated in open grassed country is approximately 15 feet high and has a steep slope down into the cave floor. The widest point of the cave is about 15 feet with the roof being approx. 30 feet from the floor level. The portion of the cliff running in a north-south direction opens out into a small cleft in the cliff face.  This face is climbable from the front of the face but the pitch into the cave is too steep for comfortable access.

The branch away from the main line of the cave runs in a south-west direction and is situated approximately 12 feet above the main cave floor. A rough ladder has been placed in the cave by someone to facilitate easier entrance to this branch. The cave contains some small stalactites and stalagmites in the south-west branch and the cave walls have a good coating of limestone deposit. Other than this there is not much more for the visitor to see and this is probably why the cave is not as well known as other reserves in the district.

The fact that access is very difficult would also account for this.

The Mangaone Cave Scenic Reserve has been controlled by the Commissioner of Crown Lands, Lands and Survey Department, Napier since 1905 when it was declared a Scenic Reserve.


Maraetotara Scenic Reserve consists of an area of approximately 76 acres. About 60 acres are in bush with easy hill slope and the remaining 16 acres is clear land in grass and native ferns. The reserve is situated 26 miles west of Hastings near Waimarama off the Waipoapoa Road.

The bush contains excellent examples of mature Kahikatea and Rimu, together with species of Tawa, Rewerewa, Mahoe, Lemonwood, Lacebarks and Supplejacks, Miro and fivefinger ribbon-wood.

Three grants have been allowed for the purpose of fencing the reserve to keep cattle out which often destroy the bush and retard regeneration.

Proposals are being carried out to purchase some additional land of approximately 160 acres to add to the existing reserve.  The proposed addition will be in two parts. It is at present Maori Land. The area contains some birdlife, mainly pigeons, fantails and tuis. There is much native bush and panoramic views.  The Forest [and] Bird Protection Society are especially interested to see this area reserved.  Altitude of this area is about 1600 feet to 2078 feet. The Reserve is under the control of the Hawke’s Bay County Council who were appointed to control and manage the reserve in 1958.

This is an extremely interesting scenic reserve with much beautiful bush and if attempts are successful to incorporate the proposed Maori land there will also be much native birdlife for the visitor to see, and admire.


This scenic reserve was originally part of a block of Maori Land purchased in 1917 and set aside as the Ngapaeruru Scenic Reserve.

This area of 19 acres is covered with beautiful bush containing large Rimu, Matai, Totara, White Pine, Miro, Kahikatea and Ribbonwood.  There is also Kowhai, Lacebark, fern trees and a variety of undergrowth containing Veronicas and many different varieties of ferns. It contains most kinds of native trees.

The reserve is situated on Tuturewa Road, 9 miles south of Dannevirke. It is controlled by the Dannevirke County Council who were appointed in 1941.

Running through the reserve is a stream which is ideal for swimming and as a picnic spot. Fencing was carried out around the reserve so as to make it stockproof and a good pedestrian path has been formed from the entrance of the reserve to the Mangatoro Stream.  A slab table for the use of visitors has been erected on the bank of the stream and a wicket gate erected at the road to enable pedestrians to enter and leave the reserve.

This is an ideal spot for the family who wants a pleasant place to picnic.


Opouahi Scenic Reserve comprises an area of 51½ acres of which a small lake – Lake Opouahi – covers approx. 16 acres.  The lake is in a natural depression surrounded by low hills and bounded on one side by a steep bluff.  A cleared area near the lake edge makes a pleasant spot for picnickers. The balance of the area consits [consists] of second growth bush merging into larger trees to the north.

The area is within easy reach of Napier and Hastings; access being by metalled road (Pohukura) from Lake Tutira; in all about 34 miles north of Napier. The lake is adjacent to, but cannot be seen from the road. However, notices draw the travellers attention to the existence of the lake.

The reserve was originally part of the Lands and Survey Department’s Opouahi Farm Settlement Block and part of the Crown leaseholding held by the T. H. Harrison Estate.  Various boundary adjustments and exchanges were made with the result that the area is now completely under Crown ownership. The area has considerable scenic value in the regeneration of native shrubs and trees and it also gives the Crown control of the lake inlet. Among the native species of trees are Totara, Kowhai, Lancewood, Rewa Rewa, Rimu, Konini and Kahikatea.

The reserve and farm settlement were part of a district created under the N.Z. Land Settlement Act in 1863. The Crown had made several purchases in the district and this particular block in question was brought in 1868 for a consideration to Maori owners of £185. By N.Z. Gazette of 1878, nearly 8,000 acres was apportioned as a reserve for primary education. The Provincial Board of Commissioners, appointed for education reserves, leased the area to Mrs. G. E. Chambers in 1906 and some years later approx. 2,400 was subleased to Mr. Guthrie Smith.  When the main lease expired in 1941 it was not renewed, and until the Government’s development programme was commenced it remained vacant Crown Land.

Recently, an underwater diving club, with the permission of the Commissioner of Crown Lands, explored the lake and reported that it had been formed by a slip blocking a valley, as a number of larger trees, up to 4 ft in diameter, had been drowned. The trees appeared to be preserved by a mineral deposit which may have been lime although this was not conclusively established. The club also mentioned that the trees which are just a few feet away from the surface have rotted and as a result could be very dangerous for anyone diving in as the trees come to a sharp point where they have rotted away.

The Opouahi Scenic Reserve was reserved in 1963 as a reserve for scenic purposes. The reserve is under the control of the Lands and Survey Department, Napier.


About a mile away from White Pine Bush on the side nearest Napier is the Tangoio Falls Scenic Reserve. Falling away from the road to the valley below, the reserve is not readily noticed at first by the passing motorist. It consists of three fine waterfalls, the largest and most spectacular being known as the Te Ana Falls, which is but a short distance from the road. There is also some native bush, and the total area of the reserve is just on 117 acres. The major part was purchased in 1907 from Messrs. C.M., W.D. and D. Fernie. At that time there was a fine stand of native trees and before 1931 the area was a favourite picnic ground for the people of Napier and Hastings.

Due to the earthquake and soil erosion and the later highway reconstruction, the original access path was destroyed. The falls themselves also suffered some damage during this period by subsequent flooding, and were partly caved in.

For some years the reserve was hardly used and became somewhat neglected. Goats became a problem, and in desperation the Lands and Survey Department issued shooting permits to responsible persons, mainly honorary rangers, in an attempt to control the animals.  This measure has proved effective and now the reserve consists of about 80 acres in secondary growth of bush. There are some good stands of punga and the balance of the area is in manuka and other young native trees. Birds are on the increase; native wood pigeons, grey warblers, tuis, fantails and waxeyes have all been noted.

A new access track has been cut in recent years, but it is still steep and rough in parts; however, any normally fit person is able to negotiate it without any trouble.  Plans are in hand to improve the track and it is hoped that these will be carried out within the next few months. The track leads from the roadside down the decline to the valley floor, and a short walk alongside the stream brings the visitor to the first of the falls – the Te Ana, which, in spite of the damage by flood and earthquake, is still a very fine sight.  Two other waterfalls are located to the right of the stream through an area of young bush.

During the last decade or so few visitors have been attracted to the reserve, but it is hoped that in future more people will become aware of the Tangoio Falls’ Reserve and will make the effort to view for themselves the fine waterfalls, and perhaps pause to picnic by the side of the clear, bush sheltered stream.


This scenic reserve is situated on the north bank of the Tuki Tuki River south of the stopbank, about 3 miles north-west of Waipukurau.  To local residents it is more commonly known as the Lindsay Settlement. It consists of approx. 23 acres. Access is gained via Lindsay Road and Scenic Reserve Road. There is also a track along the top of the stopbank.

The reserve contains a good stand of native bush. There are white pines with fine specimens of Kahikatea and Matai with the usual forms of undershrub such as Tawa and Titoki. A patch of willows and a grassed area are situated at the western end of the reserve where there is a good swimming hole. This is part of the reserve which is used most frequently by the local residents.

Reserved in 1905 control was originally vested in the Waipukurau County Council but in 1938 they declined appointment for a further term.  In 1948 a board was appointed consisting of representatives from the Waipukurau Borough Council, Waipukurau County Council, Waipukurau Chamber of Commerce and the Waipawa County Council.  This board, however, did not survive for long because of lack of interest among members and the general public.

At the moment the reserve is under the control of the Lands and Survey Department but attempts are still being made to see if the Waipawa County Council would be interested in taking over the area.


Some 25 miles south-east of Dannevirke at Horoeka on the southern boundary of the Hawke’s Bay Province, are the Waihi Falls.

The land is a compact area of 53 acres with the Waihi Stream running through the centre. The falls are best viewed from above, at the edge of the reserve. They have a drop of about 80 feet and a flow of approx. one chain across.

At the present time the scenic reserve is not very well known and is used mainly as a picnic spot for people living in the district.  Access is reasonably easy; the best route being through the farm of Mr. L. G. Lunt who is an Honorary Ranger and who keeps a watchful eye over the well being of the reserve.

Besides the waterfall, there are a variety of native trees, Matai and Totara in particular, with some Kahikatea, Rimu, Five Finger, ribbon wood and scrub and manuka. Regeneration is apparent especially in the case of the totara.

The Automobile Association is arranging to erect signs which will help in making the scenic reserve better known. Fencing is to be renewed also as parts of the native bush are suffering considerably through stock damage.

The Waihi Falls Scenic Reserve is controlled by the Dannevirke County Council who were appointed in 1958 when the Council ceded the interests of the Weber County Council.


In 1955 an area of some 159 acres adjoining the Waipatiki Domain was declared a scenic reserve by the Minister of Lands.  It was named of course the Waipatiki Scenic Reserve.

It had originally been suggested by the members and Chairman of the Waipatiki Domain Board that this area be set aside as a scenic reserve as the native bush was well worth preserving as well as containing a number of native birds which needed to be protected from indiscriminate shooting.  As a result the Waipatiki Domain Board was appointed to control and manage the reserve.

Waipatiki Scenic Reserve is situated on the East Coast at the end of Waipatiki Road, 21 miles north of Napier at the mouth of the Waipatiki Stream.  It can be reached, by either Waipatiki or Aropaoanui Road which are both gravel roads.  The reserve is found close alongside the Waipatiki Domain which attracts large crowds of the public in the summer months.

There is approximately 60 acres of bush which contains many tawa, titoki, puriri and a few kahikatea, scattered white pine with broadleaf in the gullies. The remaining 90 acres are in manuka scrub.  The bush is confined mainly to the lower slopes and sides of the gullies. There is a good stand of pungas. It contains, of course, native birds such as pigeons and tuis.

The reserve contains camping sites adjoining the Waipatiki Stream and there are also a number of holiday cottages near the beach.

A few permits have been issued now and then to persons wishing to shoot goats which are a major problem in that they destroy the bush and eat young shrubs. The shooters, however, must comply with all the conditions mentioned in the permit.  This includes burying the carcasses of the goats.

In 1961 the Hawke’s Bay County Council was appointed to control and manage the reserve, in place of the former domain board which had been composed of local residents living at Waipatiki.  They were also appointed as the Waipatiki Domain Board.

This reserve is well worth visiting because of the beautiful native bush and birds, which are so scarce round the Hawke’s Bay area.


This small reserve, comprising a little over 2½ acres is one of the few reserves in Hawke’s Bay that has been preserved for its historical significance. It is situated near the mouth of the Whangawehi Stream on the north eastern side of the Mahia Peninsular [Peninsula] some 2 miles south-east of Mahia township. The land slopes gently from the Mahia-East Coast road down to the stream on the other side.  Vegetation consists mainly of native grasses with some rock outcrops; an ideal spot for picnickers.

The site is reputed to be the place where the first Maori baptism took place in the Mahia area. A stone, known as the Whangawehi Baptismal Stone has a hand hewn hollow on the top and is believed to have been used as a font by the early missionaries.

Across the road from the reserve on land owned by the Ormond family, is a niche in the rock face which was where the bible was kept. Both the niche and the stone font are readily accessible to the public. The font has been made from a large nearly flat boulder of marine pumice silt stone part of which is underground. Geologists have estimated the stone to be 10 million years old. It is approx. 4 ft. high and 6 ft. wide at the base tapering to about 4 ft. The font measures 8″ to 12″ deep by 15″ in diameter at the top and tapers away to about 4” at the bottom.

A great deal of research was necessary to establish the history of the baptismal stone, when the area was handed over to the Crown in 1958. The written history was held by the Church of England in Napier, but unfortunately this was destroyed during the 1931 earthquake.

The diary notes of Rev. William Williams, held in the Alexander Turnbull Library, reveal that he first preached Christianity on the Mahia Peninsular in 1840, but it would appear that it was not until October 1842 that he baptised Maoris at Whangawehi. Rev. William Williams later Bishop of Waiapu had apparently first visited the area in February 1840. Several of early missionaries had paid visits to Mahia around this time amongst whom were Samuel Marsden, Father Claude Baty and Bishop Selwyn.

Many of the Maori population living in the vicinity of the rock, are of the Ronga-Mai Wahine parent tribe and the sub-tribes Ngai-te-Rakato and Ngaitu and are of Church of England denomination.

Originally the area was known as Coronation Park and was donated to the district by Mr. G. E. Ormond in commemoration of Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation.  A dedication ceremony was held at that time by the Bishop of Aotearoa the Right Reverend W. N. Panapa.  During the ceremony an eight year old boy, Cyril Ormond, was christened at the open air font, although it is not intended to be used as such in the future.

In July 1958, Mr. Ormond formally gifted the area to the Crown and the Wairoa County Council was appointed to control and manage.

On 25th November 1961, a ceremony was held at Whangawehi at which a bronze plaque erected by the National Historic Places Trust commemorating the site, was unveiled by the Rev. R. H. Rangiihu, The plaque carries the inscription:
“According to tradition this rock font was used by the Rev. William Williams who first preached Christianity on the Mahia Peninsular in 1840.”

Surely this is one of the most interesting sites of local history in Hawke’s Bay.


White Pine Scenic Reserve, or White Pine Bush as it is known locally, is approximately 18 miles north of Napier. As the name implies, the reserve consists of native bush with a good display of white pine.  There are, of course, many other fine species with a predominance of kahikatea, and some matai, totara, mahoe, Koromike [Koromiko] and a mixture of tawa, to name but a few.

Bird life has increased over the years with the regeneration of the bush; the tui, bell bird, kingfisher, tom tit, robin and native pigeon have all been sighted. There have been some indications of kiwi on this reserve, and as recently as 1955 a few were heard, although no sightings were reported. At that stage there were definite signs of the existence of these birds, reliable estimates setting the figure at about half a dozen. Unfortunately, however, no signs have since been found and it is feared that the Kiwi no longer inhabits the reserve.

White Pine Bush was originally part of the 26,000 acre Purahotangiha Block of Maori-owned land, in the Tangoio Valley region. The Block was purchased from the Maori owners; all negotiations were completed and the area was vested in the Crown by 1915. Most of the Block was used for the farm settlement of discharged soldiers, but in 1923 an area of some acres was set aside as a scenic reserve. The name originally given to this reserve was Tangoio Stream Scenic Reserve; later its present title was adopted to identify the area with the locally known name. In recent years a small cleared section has been added to the reserve to facilitate better access and to provide for a parking and picnic area.

Some time after it was first created, the Government of the day agreed to provide funds to be used in fencing the reserve to protect the native trees from wandering stock and to allow the bush to regenerate.  The project fell through when the 1931 earthquake occurred and caused such havoc in Hawke’s Bay, but the scheme was not lost sight of and a few years later, in 1935 the Government approved a pound for pound subsidy of money raised locally so that the fencing could be completed.  This was a tremendous help towards preserving the bush, but even so, over the years stock, in particular goats, has caused a great deal of damage by stripping off the bark and destroying the foliage of young trees.

The honorary rangers, who take particular interest in this reserve, have been a wonderful help to the Lands and Survey Department in preserving the bush; they carry out minor repair work, clear noxious weeds, help control the goats, report when fence breaks occur and in general keep a watchful eye on the reserve. At the present time the area is in good condition and is beginning to show the full effect of the care that has been taken.

The reserve is popular with the public for picnics and pleasant bush walks. An attraction that adds to its appeal is a small stream which flows through the area.

Recently the Department of Lands and Survey arranged for a number of the better specimens of each variety of tree to be labelled with their common and botanical names. This is in its final stages and is a tribute to Mr. Norman Elder, whose expert technical advice has been invaluable.

At the moment, improvements to the reserve are being effected by two local groups, with the assistance of the Lands and Survey Department and the Ministry of Works.  The bush tracks are being improved and extended by enthusiastic members of the Napier Lions Club and the local branch of the Royal Forest and Bird Protection Society.

Two small footbridges are being renovated and a third is planned.  The Lions Club proposes to erect a toilet block in the cleared area and also to build a number of picnic tables and stools for visitors.  A two-mile walking track is almost completed; this extends from the picnic area through the bush to a large kahikatea tree well inside the reserve and winds along the opposite side of the stream and back to the picnic area once more.

With the new improvements it is anticipated that White Pine Bush will become even more popular with members of the public as a striking example of natural bush which, alas, is all to [too] rare in Hawke’s Bay.


The William Hartree Memorial Scenic Reserve was gifted to the Crown in 1962 by Mrs. Audrey Hartree. It is situated on the Puketitiri-Napier main road about 32 miles north-west of Napier.

The reserve contains some 25 acres of regenerating bush with steep pumiceous hill country facing towards the east.  Approximately 17 acres of the area contains regenerating native bush, while the remaining 8 acres are in manuka, fern and bush, with much regeneration apparent. There is an access path leading to the bush. Within a few years this area could develop into an extremely good stand of bush, which will provide much interest to the biologists and botanists.

Mrs. Audrey Hartree, in conjunction with the Hartree family, gifted this land to the Crown for the purpose of providing a lasting memorial to her late husband, in line with his interests.  Mr. William Hartree, after whom the reserve was named, was keenly interested in the native bush and wild life, being a member of the Hawke’s Bay Naturalist Club and a strong supporter of the Hawke’s Bay Junior Wildlife Wardens. One of the conditions of the gift was that the Hawke’s Bay Junior Wildlife Wardens were to be granted a permit to erect a Clubhouse on a frontal cleared portion and to use the reserve to further their studies and interests.  The building is designed and sited to blend in with the bush surroundings. It is also intended to use the area for Bush Biological research purposes and the odd selection of native trees will be planted from time to time.

A Government financial grant was made to carry out the fencing repairs to keep stock out of the reserve so that the native bush would not be destroyed.

The William Hartree Memorial Scenic Reserve is under the control of the Commissioner of Crown Lands, Lands and Survey Department, Napier.

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