21 July 2021
There was a group of 14 plus the lovely Layla (Joan’s dog), that met at Te Mata Park’s main gates at 9:30am on a beautiful, sunny but coolish day. We were privileged to have local resident and former HTC President, Mike, join us to share his wealth of knowledge about the park. Mike has spent numerous voluntary hours in the park planting and maintaining vegetation and he works closely with the Te Mata Park Trust. The Taradale folk in our party had not seen the extensive plantings in the newly purchased part of the park above Te Mata Peak Road which has been done with mainly volunteer workers. Being the second week of the school holidays the park was busy with parents and children walking or riding mountain bikes.
First it was a walk and talk through this newer area with a couple of stops to look at the views to the western hills – the removal of pine and other exotic trees has opened up the vistas noticeably. Then it was a left turn and head south-west into the rest of the park. At one stage we went past a plantation of 50 kowhai trees gifted and planted by local identity, Patrick Dingemans in memory of his late wife, Cherry. Strangely, the BMX club has routed its newest trail right though the dead centre [no pun intended] of the plantings. Many of us think that maybe they would have some respect when cycling there.
As we ascended through more plantings, we observed an area done by local schools and now maintained by them. Graeme Hare was not physically on this trip but his spirit of consumption was present when we stopped for a lunchette – need to keep fluids up. Mike was able to point out some of the more interesting trees that remain plus the general successes and failures of the long-term work at TMP. The hot, dry Hawke’s Bay summers are a constant challenge for young trees and survival is not guaranteed. Up to higher ground and Raewyn left us for a previously-made appointment. We picked our way through old slash with lots of pine trunks and branches on either side. After walking for another hour or so we ended up on the main park road.
The majority of us had long decided to reward ourselves for such a strenuous day and we headed for Peak House Restaurant where Pete had earlier made a party booking. There we indulged in decadent treats, a great spot with fantastic views over sunny Hawkes Bay. We then walked down to our vehicles.
Party: Joan R, Alasdair S, Glenda H, Peter B, Roger B, Christine H, Margaret G, Mike L, Raewyn R, Susan L, Barbara P, Garry S, Anne C, Pete H