Avoca Valley Restoration

IMPORTANT NOTICE

Avoca Valley within Linda Woods Reserve will be closed 11-15 October while the digger is onsite for fencing work. This is to keep everyone safe. Signage will be in place. This period may be extended if the weather is poor so please check our Facebook page for updates. Horotane Valley will still be open.

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 will be planting 45,000 trees and plants over the next three years thanks to generous support from the Department of Conservation (Jobs for Nature) and other funders. In time, we intend to plant another 40,000 plants as funding permits. 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.

2021 Weeding Days

Volunteers planted 2600 trees and plants in winter 2021. We have 2 weeding days planned for spring 2021 to weed around the new plantings:

  • Saturday 30 October 1.00pm – 4.00pm
  • Monday 8 November 5.00 – 7.30pm

We will be working on the lower slopes of the valley near Duncan Park. Access is via a neighbour’s property on Avoca Valley Road. The site is mainly grass with some gorse. The slope is reasonably steep and the ground uneven. You will need to walk about 5-10 minutes to the planting site from the road edge. Gardening gloves are recommended. Please bring pruning shears if you have them.

Once you have registered, you will be sent detailed instructions on where to go, what to bring, and health and safety information. This event will go ahead in Level 2 with additional safety precautions, including masks for briefings and physical distancing. Children are very welcome to attend this event but please be aware the terrain is steep and uneven.

REGISTER FOR A WEEDING DAY

If you have any queries please contact Marie Gray on:
Email: secretary@summitroadsociety.org.nz
Phone: 027 470 2020

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 over one million visitors a year.

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 and donations from individuals, families and local businesses.