A valley clothed, unclothed and clothed again

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“ The concept of mauri is central to our belief. Everything is imbued with mauri.

"Mauri is the binding force between the physical and spiritual aspects. Mauri is considered to be the essence or life force that provides life to all living things.”

- Morehu Wilson, Ngāti Paoa

The Matiatia valley has seen cycles of forest cover, clearance, then re-vegetation.

The regenerating coastal broadleaf/podocarp forests on the slopes of this valley, are largely the work of one man Don Chapple, and a dedicated band of volunteers who supported him.

Read more about Don in the interpretation panels in the Atawhai Whenua bush reserve, or watch the video (on the app link).

Now bush-clad again, the ground in the valley is more stable. The forest holds the soil, reducing slips, and helping keep the stream water clear.

"When planting a tree, I see the forest. I create a forest as I plant. It grows in the head...before the eyes and it becomes exciting. Looking into the gully, I see masses of swamp ribbonwood, tawa poking up through the gorse, pohutukawa on the slope and kauri sheltering on the shoulders." - Don Chapple, in the Gulf News, 31 May 1996.

  • <p>The first plantings by Don Chapple were done on a bare hillside...</p>
  • <p>A Jim Storey cartoon in the <em>Gulf News</em>, 31 May 1996.</p>
  • <p>The Matiatia hills in 1999</p>
  • <p>By 2003 the young forest was taking hold.</p>
  • <p>Although photographed ina very dry summer, by 2005 the regenerating Matiatia bush looks well-established.</p>
  • <p>The bare hills above the Matiatia valley in 1994.</p>
  • <p>Don Chapple often used a cover of gorse as a nursery for replanting small native forest species.</p>
  • <p>Forest &amp; Bird volunteers used this lean-to as a base for their nursery operations during the re-planting of Te Atawhai Whenua reserve.</p>