On November 8 1993 a group of volunteers had the vision of turning 5.5 hectares of scrub, blackberry, gorse and swamp into a native bush re-serve for all to enjoy.
Many committed their time and labour without any prospect of being able to see the end result 25 years later. The 25th Anniversary is a celebration of all the hard work and vision of the volunteers who over the years have contributed towards making the Wainui Reserve what it is today.
The European interaction with this piece of land began in the 1880s with the operation of a flax mill on the Wainui stream above the junction with the Ahiawa Stream.
The drain diverting the water from the stream to the mill can still be seen, as can the depressions made by temporary dwell-ings constructed by the mill workers from the Kopua Pa. The mill closed in 1895 and the land was leased from the Raglan County Council by Mr. McJanet as part of the Pilot Station. Sometime after that, the lease of 6.5 hectares transferred to Betty Rawley’s (nee Jackson) family who farmed the Pilot Station.
However, the Raglan County Council wanted to convert the whole area into grazing land including the 6.5 hectares leased by the Jackson family. Opposition to this proposal came from Betty and Frank Rawley and, with the help of councillor Michael Hope, resulted in the land being fenced off and made into the Pilot Reserve.
In 1993, with encouragement from Betty and Frank Rawley, a group of volunteers supported by the Waikato District Council, began planting the area in native trees. By 2001 the volunteers (Friends of Wainui) had planted over 13,000 trees, with planting still continuing today. Friends of Wainui propagated most of the early trees, planted, laid out paths, constructed water features and built bridges. Other activities include labelling native trees, developing a car park, toilet facilities, seating, picnic areas, pest control and generally fostering an environment that enables a bare, scrubby and wet 5.5 hectares to become a self-generating bush area enjoyed by all who wander the pathways or sit and absorb the hushed stillness of the bush and the birdsong.
The hard work of volunteers over 25 years is to be celebrated as the Wainui Reserve has become a valuable asset in the Raglan area, adding to the diversity of activities freely available to the public. It also reflects the culture of a caring, volunteering and doing community, that is Rag-lan.
The Friends of Wainui Reserve meet on alternate Monday mornings to maintain and further develop the Reserve.
Facebook: Friends of Wainui