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New Violet Bonnington Reserve sign

The Violet Bonnington Reserve (VBR) is a small area of about half a hectare, originally pasture, that was purchased by the Rotorua Branch of Forest & Bird in 2006 in order to provide public access from Paradise Valley Rd to the Mt Ngongotahā Scenic Reserve (DOC). At the time, the reserve was surrounded by farmland and public access was difficult. A newly formed community group, the Mt Ngongotahā Bush Restoration Trust, was also creating walking tracks, carrying out pest control, and undertaking some restoration planting at the margins.

Funding for the VBR land purchase, fencing, restoration planting, and for ongoing maintenance was provided by a legacy from Rotorua local identity and former Rotorua Hospital matron Violet Bonnington, who passed away in 1985. Violet asked that her bequest be used for the purchase “…of either bushland or land which can be developed as a native bird reserve…” for the use and enjoyment of “members of the Rotorua public." It took 20 years for a suitable location to be found by Forest and Bird Rotorua Branch, but finally Violet Bonnington Reserve was created. The reserve was officially opened by Conservation Minister Chris Carter, with Violet's son Barry Bonnington in attendance. 

Rotorua F&B soon created a track through the VBR to link with the historic Jubilee Track on Mt Ngongotahā, and also began restoration planting of the pasture with native trees. The first plantings, in 2007 were done by transplanting seedlings from beneath the forest at the base of the mountain. From 2008 approximately 300 trees per year were purchased and planted during conservation week. Currently branch oversight of the VBR involves weed control, mowing the grassy picnic area, and general maintenance.


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The Violet Bonnington Reserve provides access to two walkways

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Violet Bonnington Reserve

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