Project summary

What we're doing

We’re restoring nature in Donny Park/Kukutaaruhe Gully, as the first project in our Nature in the City programme.  

Over the five year project, we will: 

  • Plant native species throughout the park 
  • Install new pathways so you can connect with nature 
  • Control and remove pest plant species 
  • Upgrade key park entrances 
  • Upgrade and add rest and recreation areas. 

Why we're doing it

This project will help our native birds, insects and plants to thrive, and provide green spaces for our community to relax and enjoy. By restoring more nature for people to connect with, we can help improve the wellbeing of Hamiltonians. 

Kukutaaruhe means ‘flight path of the kuku’ also known as kereru (New Zealand wood pigeon) according to hapuu of the area, Ngaati Wairere. Kereru were once prolific in the area, and were highly valued by mana whenua as a food source and a season indicator. It is also said that flocks of kereru taking flight provided a warning that another party was approaching.  

The pilot project for Nature in the City aims to restore native ngahere (forest) in Donny Park, so that kuku may fly through the gully once again. 

Project features

  • Native plants

    10,000 native plants

    Using seeds collected from plants in Hamilton Kirikiriroa and raised in our nursery.
  • Community focus

    Community focus

    We're getting help from the community on our restoration plans, planting days, and other conservation activities.
  • BioDiversity

    Educational signs

    We're installing new signs to educate park users about the cultural history and biodiversity of the gully.

Where we're at with progress

  • Stage 1 - Planning


    Initial restoration plans were developed and shared with the local hapuu and surrounding community for feedback. Feedback was incorporated into detailed design…
  • Stage 2 - Underway


    Planting began in May 2022 and work is ongoing to restore nature in the park. Infrastructure upgrades will be completed in 2023.
  • Stage 3 - Completed


    Restoration will be complete in 2025 and the park will be regularly maintained by Natural Areas Rangers.

Community involvement

Keeping the community and mana whenua involved in restoration is critical to the work we do in the Nature in the City Programme. In November 2022, we partnered with The Fairfield Project to host the Kukutaaruhe BioBlitz, with support from Aratiatia Community Marae. Check out the video of the event.

BioBlitz thumb


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Last updated 20 September 2023