[Editor: Watch for Jessica Maxwell’s weekly Walkabouts to learn about the many reserves HB has to offer.]

Waitangi Regional Park, which covers over 300 hectares of coastal land between Awatoto and Haumoana, is now rated one of the top ten wetlands in Hawke’s Bay and is a haven for birds and wildlife. It also has significant cultural, historic and biodiversity values as well as being an important ecosystem where fish breed and migrate between the ocean and the local rivers. Resident and migratory bird species such as the white heron, royal spoonbill, godwits, and gannets roost on the gravel banks and feed there. New Zealand fur seals have recently established a colony on rocks near Clive.

In recent years, the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, along with local mana whenua have transformed and beautified parts of the park and their visionary project was recently recognised.

Last November, the Ātea Rangi Compass Star and wetland restoration project won the Te Karanga o te Tui category in the 2019 Resene New Zealand Institute of Landscape Architecture Awards. The dramatic circle of pou (posts), stones and a whaharoa (gateway) has been developed by the Ātea a Rangi Educational Trust and was installed during 2017. The judges described it as a “triumphant cultural landscape and environmental project, giving rise to the knowledge and understanding of Māori sky lore”.

If you are interested in wildlife, water-sports, fishing, cycling, walking, horse riding or learning more about the Ātea a Rangi Star Compass and Historic Site, then this regional park is well worth a visit. Equally well, if you just want to take friends or the kids somewhere interesting for a picnic and a stroll, Waitangi is within easy reach of Napier, Hastings or Havelock North.

To protect the area’s wildlife, please keep your dog on its lead. More info @ www.hbrc.co.nz

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  1. Great article. I have driven past this for years, seen the works going on but have never stopped to look. Now will make the effort. Excellent to have Jessica taking the time to show us what is in our own back yard. Looking forward to seeing what else is in store. Thinking back to the “Sunday” drive we did as kids. Picnic basket in the boot. No cellphones, tablets or devices just the 35mm camera in the glovebox.
    Rob M

  2. When we are showing visitors to Hawkes Bay around, this has now become a must-visit – its geographical location at the river mouths well as its bringing the thoughts of how the Maori navigated are somehow very grounding. A fabulous addition to our province.

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