Home' Hastings Mail : June 14th 2011 Contents 17
HASTINGS MAIL, JUNE 15, 2011
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Sharing a dream
By VIVIENNE HALDANE
Picnic time: There's nothing like lunch, alfresco
Tree-hugger: Trudy Kirk of Waipukurau hugs a lofty
Bad taste: These bright red fungi look pretty, but
don't eat them.
HOW TO GET THERE
Recommended route to Holt Forest: On the
Wairoa road, about 30 minutes north of Napier,
turn left at Waikoau Rd, just before Tutira Store.
Holt Forest is signposted at this road.
Not recommended: An earlier turnoff from State
Highway 2, at Kaiwaka Rd, is a narrow, steep,
The forest is open seven days a week.
An arboretum near Lake Tutira is a
testament to one man's vision.
Holt Forest was the work of the late
Harold Holt and his wife, Dorothy,
who, in their spare time, created a
magnificent forest, one that is still
enjoyed by many today.
Harold Holt was born and educated in Napier and
began work for the Lands and Survey Department
before graduating with a bachelor of science from
He worked in the United States timber industry
for a time before joining his father's company,
Robert Holt and Sons in 1928.
He rose to be deputy chairman of Carter Holt
Holdings until he retired in 1975.
Harold Holt devoted his life to the forestry
industry and Napier, and was a generous benefac-
tor to many Napier developments.
It was when he worked in the conifer forests of
the US's North West, that he became inspired to
create a forest of his own.
In 1933, he bought 15 hectares of manuka and
bracken scrub-land for the purpose of creating a
forest of fine trees''.
For more than 50 years, the Holts dedicated
most of their spare time to collecting and planting
a wildlife sanctuary.
They called it Rakautanu -- the forest of planted
In 1962, the arboretum was gifted to the people
of New Zealand.
Mr Holt collected and planted indigenous and
introduced trees and shrubs, and the first trees to
be planted were redwood, douglas fir and kahika-
These trees have now grown to tower over the
forest floor and are the first trees to be seen by
visitors approaching the arboretum gate.
Broad paths suitable for wheelchairs wind
through the property.
These tracks are bordered by native ferns and
understorey plants, an abundant food source for
Introduced trees and shrubs enrich the variety
of nectar and berries so loved by tui and bellbirds.
Visitors are rewarded by the sight and sound of
these birds, now present in considerable numbers.
Fantails, grey warblers and wax-eyes dart
around, catching insects or enjoying berries and
In the centre of the arboretum is the area
known as the Dell.
This was where the Holts lived, in a bush camp,
while working on the forest.
It is now known for the primroses which flower
in the spring, descendants of the clumps planted
by Mrs Holt in the 1930s.
Mrs Holt also planted the ornamental shrubs
and trees in the area known as the Acre, close to
the entrance of the trust.
In spring this area is carpeted with bluebells
Mr Holt died on May 27, 1987, while working in
Supersnail: An example of
Giant carnivorous snails are mak-
ing a comeback in the Hawke's
Bay ranges, a Conservation
Department survey has found dur-
ing May. Department of Conser-
vation staff and volunteers suc-
cessfully surveyed two sites for the
liphanta maungaharuru, in the
More common in moist high-
altitude forest, this year's survey
found 75 live snails, as well as 12
shell remains. The last survey in
2005 found 51 snails and 12 shell
remains and in both surveys, the
shells have shown little sign of
predation by introduced animals,
which is great news for the snails
and native birds in the area.
Powelliphanta are one of our
invertebrates,'' says DOC ranger
carnivores, giants of the snail
world, with some species being
able to reach the size of a man's
fist. They can live up to 20 years
and lay eggs that look like small
bird's eggs. Unfortunately, their
homes have been destroyed by
humans and trampled by grazing
animals and they are also a deli-
cacy for introduced animals such
as possums, pigs and rats.''
Mr Melville says DOC is par-
ticularly excited by the findings of
this year's survey, not only
because more snails were found,
but because DNA samples were
taken from four of them.
We can then see how the
Maungaharuru population com-
pares genetically with other
though known about for more than
60 years, still hasn't been properly
named and these samples should
help rectify this.''
The snail surveys were done in
Taraponui and Cashes Bush in the
Maungaharuru Ranges, in 20m x
25m survey plots.
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