Avoca Valley Restoration

Avoca Valley Restoration

The Summit Road Society has committed to restoring a dry lowland podocarp forest in Avoca Valley on the Port Hills. This forest ecosystem once naturally existed on this site, but is now nationally rare and threatened.

We are planting 50,000 trees and plants thanks to generous support from the Department of Conservation (Jobs for Nature) and other funders. In time, we intend to restore 38ha of the valley. The reserve will include a range of walking tracks so that the community, and in particular children, can enjoy and appreciate the stream and surrounding bush.

Public planting days 2024 Avoca Valley

Saturday 8 June 2024 12.30pm-4.30pm
Sunday 16 June 2024 9.30am-12.30pm

Parking available at Duncan Park – follow the signs up to the planting area 5C.

Register for a planting event

Queries please contact Bill Martin
Email: manager@summitroadsociety.org.nz
Phone: 027 389 0030

Background Information

The restoration of Avoca Valley has been a long held dream for the local community. Twenty-five years ago, the Avoca Valley community started working together to restore the the Avoca Valley Stream. This partnership involved local residents and landowners, tangata whenua, the Christchurch City Council, scientists and other experts. A report “Restoring Avoca Valley Stream: A Community Model” was produced in 1998 with a supporting video http://lucas-associates.co.nz/christchurch-banks-peninsula/restoring-avoca-valley-stream-3/

Avoca Valley was a key route for Ngāti Wheke on their journey from Rāpaki to Ihutai (the estuary) and was an important source of mahinga kai (food gathering). The Avoca Valley Stream was known as Te Awa Tere o Rona (the slow babbling stream of Rona) and Kā Irika o Kahukura (the tears of Kahukura). Although the upper stream runs dry for much of the year now, local evidence indicates this was not always the case. Older residents remember being able to play in the stream as children and even going eeling. The community had a vision to restore and protect the stream for future generations.

Many of the restoration works outlined in the plan were undertaken including the development of a small wetland area in Duncan Park and planting alongside the stream flowing through urban backyards. However, the planned planting in the upper rural catchment did not eventuate due to funding constraints and later the earthquakes. With little vegetation to hold or slow runoff, rainfall falls out of the system within a matter of hours. Stormwater runoff carries sediment from the eroding land into the stream and to the lower catchment, resulting in problems with sedimentation. This affects the water quality in the lower sections of the stream and in turn the Ōpawaho-Heathcote River and Ihutai (the estuary).

The upper catchment is now part of the Summit Road Society’s Linda Woods Reserve. The Summit Road Society is a grassroots conservation organisation with a 70 year history of protecting the Port Hills. In October 2018, the Society bought Tussock Hill farm thanks to generous bequests and donations. Renamed to Linda Woods Reserve, the 233ha farm is being transformed into a reserve for the public to enjoy. It is on the doorstep to Christchurch City and borders Rāpaki Track which has thousands of visitors per year. Rapaki Track numbers have declined post covid and mountain bikers now take a different track.

By restoring the bush to the Avoca Valley catchment, we will create habitat and ecological corridors for native fauna, improve freshwater values, reduce erosion and sediment run-off, restore mahinga kai, provide recreational benefits for the community, and support carbon sequestration. The new bush will be covenanted with the QEII National Trust and protected in perpetuity.

A huge thank you to our funders and supporters – Department of Conservation Jobs for Nature programme, Christchurch City Council, Harry Ell Summit Road Memorial Trust, Million Metre Streams, Trees that Count, Environment Canterbury, Meridian and donations from individuals, families and local businesses.