The 25-hectare Jim Barnett Reserve sits alongside the Waikato River in Te Waotu region.
It is home to trees such as totara, rimu, tawa, mangeao and rewarewa and to birds such as the tui, fantail, kereru, bell bird, morepork, barn owl and the grey warbler. Native vegetation and bird life have been recovered through pest and weed control as well as planting over the last 20 years, in a combined effort by Forest & Bird and a variety of organisations and school groups.
Farming and woodcutting were the main causes for the depletion of nearly 90% (900ha) of Waotu bush by the 1920s, including the area of the reserve, with only fragments spared. The area was purchased from the Barnett family in 1992 and is now managed by a committee with representatives from Forest & Bird, the District Council and a range of community groups.The South Waikato Branch has just completed its 20-year planting programme.
The Te Waotu region has many dairy farms and pinus radiate forest plantations so the Jim Barnett Reserve is fundamental for the preservation of native species in South Waikato.
Intensive possum control has played a decisive role on restoring the reserve because possums feed on eggs, chicks and the leaves of shrubs like the five-finger. The reserve committee has fenced the area to prevent stock from feeding on vegetation. In one decade, the actions have led to increased numbers of native birds.
The reserve has a camping site with tap water and toilets and four easy-walking tracks. The main track takes about 30 minutes to complete and is easy underfoot. The Totara track is shorter but more difficult, yet it is achievable for most people. The other two paths are the Tui track for a loop walk and the smallest one, Ruru. The reserve has a wetland and three small streams.
If you would like to help out at this reserve please contact:
Anne & Jack Groos
Address: 37 Waianiwa Place Tokoroa 3420
Phone: 07 8867456