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Thursday, 25 April 2019 05:50 am

Trail builders bringing back nikau to the hills of Wellington


BUILDING TRAILS: From left, David Butterfield, 44, Anthony Bradshaw, 54, Robbie Bradshaw, 15, Andrew Jackson, 38, and Will Fisher, 24

The Brooklyn trails of Polhill Reserve are closer to being a native tree wonderland after another planting session by the Brooklyn Trail Builders.

In a five-year plan, 100 nikau will be planted along the trails each year and pukatea and kahikatea trees will be planted along a new mountain bike track currently being built.

The Trail Builders are volunteers who build and maintain trails between Aro Valley and Highbury on the council-owned Polhill Reserve.

Kevin O’Donnell, 41, one of Brooklyn Trail Builders, says their plan is beneficial for the whole community.

Kevin, like many of his fellow Trail Builders, is a keen mountainbiker.

“It’s not just about the mountain bikers. It’s about planting, rubbish removal, weed spraying and making it a pleasant place. This was a horrible place, it was like a dump.”

Earlier this month, the group planted cabbage trees, flax and 250 nikau along the Sawmill Track and near the Brooklyn windmill with help from Brooklyn School pupils.

The Brooklyn Trail Builders pay for the plants themselves. They are grateful for contributions such as the $5000 they recently received from the Marathon Clinic.

The five-year plan also aims to help the Wellington City Council and Zealandia to support the bird population.

Kevin says building over the Aro Valley swamp has been a slow and steady process because of all the wet weather.

“We’ve probably cancelled around three to four digs because it’s been so miserable.”


THIS WAY: The new trail stretching up the hill

During the past two months, volunteers have built bridges from wood and recycled stone sourced from the Wellington dump as pictured on the left.

Andrew Jackson, 38, a volunteer has been trail-building in the area for four years.

“This is it, this takes all my volunteer time,” he says.

The Brooklyn Trail Builders have built about 800 metres of track to divert downhill mountain bikers away from walkers’ routes since beginning the project earlier this year.

Outdoor activity group Adventure Wellington will be joining the Brooklyn Trail Builders next month to help with building and planting, and BNZ will have volunteers helping out in September.

A remainder of 400 metres of track is still left to build. Kevin is certain it will be completed this year.

The Brooklyn Trail Builders’ next project will be trailbuilding on Holloway Road, for which the council gave approval last week.

Volunteers can help with building and planting from 12:30pm-2pm on Wednesdays and 1pm-4pm on Sundays, from the Aro Valley street entrance.


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is a student journalist studying at Whitireia in Welington. She is keen on keeping up with the news and writing stories that will have impact in the community. She is currently reporting stories within the Brooklyn area. She is interested in using multi-media in the news room.
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