Archived content: This media release was accurate on the date of publication. 


DOC would like to acknowledge and thank all the contributions made by Whanganui volunteers. Conservation is everybody’s business, working together we’re getting more done.

Date:  23 November 2018

The work of many volunteers, especially in the lead up to the summer season, has been warmly welcomed by the Whanganui office which would like to acknowledge and thank all the contributions made.

Over recent weeks we have had a big push of effort from passionate and generous volunteers and we wanted to share some of these projects.

Gordon Park Scenic Reserve Volunteers

Every fortnight a hearty bunch of volunteers can be found planting, weeding and caring for this small precious forest. Led by the determined and enthusiastic Colin Ogle, the team are making great inroads. The friends of Gordon Park help DOC protect and preserve the indigenous biodiversity of the reserve and educate the public about the importance of the reserve.

A nationally vulnerable threatened plant found locally at Gordon Park Scenic Reserve, near Whanganui township, has had a welcome boost in protection.

When extra money became available from a Threatened Species Fund earlier this year the Whanganui DOC Office received funding to ensure the protection of gratiola concinna colenso, one of four native herb perennial species that form leafy mats of fleshy leaves and has white, pink or red flowers.

The plant grows in muddy hollows in forest clearings, on stream banks or at margins of lakes, rivers and ponds. While found throughout New Zealand, gratiola has declined and is only found in very small localised populations. Unfortunately, gratiola is threatened by a loss of its wetland habitat and competition from introduced weeds.

Gordon Park reserve is unique in that it’s one of the last lowland kahikatea forests left in the Whanganui-Manawatu district. The 14 ha reserve is a wetland area consisting of mature kahikatea forest surrounded by farmland. It contains several native species that are threatened or locally rare.

This funding has been a huge advantage in restoring this reserve. 


In late October the New Zealand Navy paddled through the Whanganui awa journey and offered their time to support a local project. Working with DOC and Te Wananga o Mangapāpapa Trust chairperson Harold Haitana, it was agreed that the team help to remove some old and unsafe infrastructure from this significant site in the Whanganui National Park.

The Mangapāpapa Kāinga site is nestled in native bush in the upper reaches of the Whanganui River, downstream from Taumarunui.

“Words can’t express how thankful we were to have the NZ Navy help us remove the old kitchen at Mangapāpapa,” says kaumātua Robert (Boy) Cribb. 

The team were professional, hard-working and from across the world, and Te Wananga o Mangapāpapa Trust and DOC are collectively grateful for mahi.

John Coull Hut

The John Coull Hut is sparkling and ready for the many expected visitors this season says Recreation and Historic Ranger Dave Westcott. “We had a great two days at John Coull hut before the beginning of the season with amazing support from 11 volunteer members of Friends of Whanganui River scrubbing the hut from top to bottom, tying tanks down and building decks.”

During the busy summer season John Coull Hut continues to be staffed by volunteers to support and manaaki visitors to the Park.   

Trains Hut

Professional builders have volunteered their time this year to build a new deck for Trains Hut in the remote back country. Senior Supervisor Recreation and Historic Ranger Jim Campbell says the project team was assisted by DOC staff who have used the task as a learning experience.

All DOC remote huts are treasured and offer an experience unique to New Zealand visitors will enjoy relaxing and connecting with nature. 

DOC continues to look to provide a visitor experience that is enhanced by our assets. 


Susan Osborne, Senior Community Ranger, Whanganui
Phone: +64 27 569 0970

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