The Millennium Native Forest Reserve - Masterton
Saturday 12th April 2008
The Reserve was opened by Dr. Morgan Williams.
(Ex-Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment)
Also present were our honoured guests (left to right):
Sir Brian Lochore - Chairman of the QEII National Trust
Karl Taucher - Deputy Chairman of the Masterton Trust Lands Trust
Gary Daniell - Mayor of Masterton
The speakers were introduced by Chris Garland, President of the Masterton South Rotary Club.
Chairman of the Friends of the Millennium
Native Forest Reserve Society Inc.
Below is a reproduction of the article, by reporter Matt Stewart, that appeared in the Wairarapa Times-Age
on Monday, April 14th, 2008.
Community vision and 50,000 voluntary hours of hard graft were recognised on Saturday with the official opening of the
Millennium Native Forest Reserve at Ohorere School on Saturday. Pupils from the school ushered speakers onto the marae
with a powhiri led by senior teacher Kellis Bennet. The tradition Maori welcome was followed by a series of speakers
representing groups and organisation's that have been instrumental to the progress of the 5.5ha forest on the corner of
Pownall and Hillcrest streets since its inception in 1994.
Chris Garland, of Masterton South Rotary, began the proceedings with words from Masterton Mayor Gary Daniell
and Masterton Trust Lands Trust deputy chairman Karl Taucher.
Sir Brian Lahore spoke next as chairman of the Queen Elizabeth II National Trust. That organisation covenanted
the reserve land, which was once Wairarapa College's farm. Sir Brian remembers working on the farm in an effort
to avoid his least-favoured school subject. "I was the farm shepherd at Wairarapa College and I would go
out and shift sheep during English period, 'cause I didn't like English," he said.
Sir Brian then thanked the boys of Ohorere for their welcome and presented them with akeake plants as a physical
and symbolic reminder of the auspicious occasion.
Chairman of Friends of the Millennium Native Forest Reserve, George Bain said the reserve, like the boys of Ohorere,
still had to flourish into maturity and that there was still a lot of work yet to be done.
"Behold the forest, it's still a youth, as yet it's a little affair ready to blossom," Mr. Bain said.
He said he calculated volunteers had planted 35,000 trees, an estimated 9000 of which had died due to extreme cold and heat.
He said it was a constant struggle to fulfil the vision of the reserve "to bring this former Wairarapa College farm back to its natural splendour".
The reserve has 2.5km of walking tracks with 175m of boardwalk using 2900m of timber and features low hills
that are a model of sustainability - 186 truckloads of fill from the construction of Pak'NSave were used in their creation.
Mr. Bain said the biggest threat to the native reserve is not rats or cats but the "two-legged adolescent male ...
probably our most devastating destroyer is teenage boys," he said.
He thanked everyone involved telling stories of stubborn volunteers getting the job done in their own unique way.
"We have a vision of a collective community forest so that people can feel what the forest was before it was touched
by man - conservation is both a spiritual and practical concern," Mr Bain said.
Morgan Williams, an ex-Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment, officially announced the reserve open to the public.
Dr Williams emphasised the need to focus on the longer journey of the reserve to make the end of this millennium the horizon.
"What you are doing here is building a piece of social capital," he said.
After the reserve was opened, Mr Garland invited the gathered, numbering around 100, for tea and a stroll around
the reserve, as a small group observed the planting of a commemorative tree by Dr Williams.
April 8th 2008 March 11th 2012
The Millennium TotaraTree planted by Dr. Morgan Williams