Hemi Matenga Reserve

Hemi Matenga Reserve

It’s not too easy to find an accessible and significant stand of largely untouched kohekohe forest around NZ. The tree was typically found in lowland coastal areas of NZ and was once dominant throughout the Kāpiti Coast. However, these areas were generally clear-felled for farming. Then it turned out that possums loved the flowers and fruit, so further damage was inflicted. This is a pity as the kohekohe tree has some interesting properties – it produces clusters of white flowers in winter directly from its trunk and large branches, turning into fruit that takes over a year to ripen. Luckily, the Hemi Matenga Reserve exists, offering access to stunning mature kohekohe forest.

In 1900, Hemi Matenga of Ngāti Toa purchased a large piece of land in the area. After his death in 1912, 330 hectares on the side of the range east of Waikanae was turned into a reserve. The bottom 30 hectares is the largest remaining kohekohe forest in the region.

There are three walking options in the reserve. The first and quickest is the short Kohekohe Track which links Tui Crescent and Kakariki Grove (30 minutes return). You can park at either end, or walk up Elizabeth St from the Waikanae train station.

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