Nature is our most powerful taonga – it makes a stronger, healthier city. We know being around nature can be magic for people’s wellbeing.
We know more native vegetation will make our city – and its people – stronger and healthier.
Help us, join a community planting group or join us and help restore nature
Our city has six significant gully systems along with several smaller ones:
Native flora and fauna once thrived in these natural formations, but the neglected gullies were cleared over time and became dumping grounds for rubbish and invasive plants. In 1989, the Gully Protection Zone was established to ensure that the city's gullies become havens for thriving populations of native plants and wildlife.
Kirikiriroa was once blanketed in kahikatea-pukatea forest on the lowlands and gully floors with totara-matai-kowhai forest on the banks and sides of gullies. Today just 2% of native vegetation cover remains in Hamilton, but there are still natural areas throughout the city to be enjoyed, including:
- Pockets of original native vegetation in parks and reserves, such as the kahikatea in Te Papanui Jubilee Bush and Hillcrest Park
- Restoration sites at Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park, Minogue Park and AJ Seeley (Putikitiki Gully)
- Significant natural areas occur on both private and public land, such as the Chartwell reaches of the Kirikiriroa Gully, around Lake Rotoroa, and the banks of the Waikato River including Hammond Park.
Why are they important
Our natural areas and gullies provide an array of benefits:
- Improving biodiversity – the variety of all life
- Providing habitats and travel paths for native taonga animals like pekapeka (long-tailed bats), weetaa, ngaarara (skinks and geckos), kookopu, tuuii, and kereruu (wood pigeons).
- Helping protect soil and prevent erosion
- Providing a carbon sink to remove greenhouse gases from our atmosphere and regulate heat, rainfall and wind
- Providing popular recreational areas for walking, cycling, and enjoying nature.
- Providing a sense of place and identity
- Providing for an array of cultural uses including mahinga kai (traditional foods and food gathering), rongoaa (medicinal plants) and raaranga (weaving)
- Holding cultural significance for mana whenua due to important heritage sites.
- Forming part of Kirikiriroa Hamilton's drainage system, which enhances water quality and is vital for all parts of our local ecosystems like wildlife, plants and residents too!
What are we doing?
50% of gullies in Hamilton are privately owned, private owners can play an important role in gully restoration.
We work with gully owners to undertake restoration projects, provide support and resources including native plants.
The community wants a healthy, thriving environment, and this will help us to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. We are also legally required to protect and enhance nature and provide for people’s wellbeing, under the:
The Nature in the City Strategy 2020 - 2050 sets the goal of increasing native vegetation cover in Hamilton from 2% to 10% by 2050.
We are also working to ‘join up’ natural areas in Hamilton – for example by supporting community groups to restore gullies.
Last updated 27 July 2023