Purple Peak Curry Reserve

The Purple Peak Curry Reserve was officially opened in February 2016 and marks a collaboration between the North Island-based New Zealand Native Forest Restoration Trust, the Christchurch City Council, Hinewai Reserve and the  Rod Donald Banks Peninsula Trust.

The reserve protects 190 ha high above Akaroa at the top of Grehan Valley and includes most of the Akaroa water catchment. The Reserve borders Hinewai and is being managed by Hugh Wilson and staff of Hinewai Reserve.  Purple Peak Curry Reserve area map.

It is easy to visit the reserve using the wonderful walking tracks developed by Hugh and his team. You can start at Heritage Park, Brocheries Road, or walk up from Akaroa on the Round the Mountain Track. Pamphlets are available at the reserve entrances or purchase the Trust’s  Akaroa Country Walks brochure from visitor centres on the peninsula or from Department of Conservation in Christchurch. See the Akaroa page of the Banks Peninsula website. The Purple Peak Track Booklet gives information about flora and fauna on the walk.

Walking through the reserve gives you the opportunity to see the many native species present including, the four common podocarp trees – lowland tōtara, thin-bark tōtara, mataī and kahikatea – as well as the “chronically threatened” raukawa. There are also 18 native hardwood tree species as well as red beech, tree ferns and cabbage trees.

Among the fauna noted by Hugh Wilson are bellbird, tūī, kererū, brown creeper, silvereye, grey warbler, fantail, tomtit, shining cuckoo, harrier hawk, falcon, welcome swallow, spur-winged plover, pipit, morepork, black-backed gull, paradise shelduck, jewelled gecko, skinks, cicadas, nursery web spiders, tunnel-web spiders, red admiral butterfly, copper butterflies and the little blue butterfly.

The reserve also includes the site of the childhood home of Frank Worsley, captain of Shackleton’s ill-fated Antarctic Endurance expedition.

The Reserve also has cultural significance for Māori. The Māori name for Purple Peak is Te Piki o Te Ake, meaning “Te Ake’s topknot”. Te Ake was a Ngāi Tahu rangitira (chief), who was involved in the conquest of the Ngāti Māmoe Pā at Parakākāriki on the southwest side of Otānerito Bay.

The reserve is owned by the New Zealand Native Forests Restoration Trust who own and manage 28 reserves throughout New Zealand that protect more than 6000 hectares of native forest. The Reserve is managed under a Reserve Management Plan.

Purple Peak Curry Reserve was formally opened to the public on Saturday February 27, 2016 at a well attended gathering including many local Akaroa residents and a contingent of NZNFRT staff and trustees who came down from the North Island for the event, some seeing their new reserve for the first time.  On her first walk through the reserve the . NFRT ecologist and reserve manager Sharen Graham was thrilled to spot a rare jeweled gecko in the reserve remarking “I never thought I’d see one in the wild”.

The formal opening took place on a beautiful warm day, with a marquee on at the base of the reserve providing welcome respite from the heat for the 120 mostly local attendees. A karakia by kaumātua James Robinson was followed by speeches by NFRT trustees Tim Oliver and Geoff Davidson, QEII Trust area manager James Guild, Banks Peninsula Councillor Andrew Turner and Hinewai’s Hugh Wilson. The group then split up into their walking groups with those short on time or puff heading to Browntop Saddle and a chance to shake Hugh Wilson’s hand while admiring the view; those with more energy carrying on to the reserve entrance adjacent to Heritage Park, and the really keen walkers heading on to Akaroa down Grehan Valley, finishing hot but happy.

Hugh Wilson of Hinewai shows off the Reserves mature podocarp trees to the NRFT trustees and staff.

Tim Oliver, the Chair of the Native Forest Restoration Trust tells the 100 plus attendees at the Purple Peak Curry Reserve opening “I have been blown away with what the Hinewai team have achieved already and it will only get better”.

Kaumātua James Robinson and Meri Robinson open the proceedings with a karakia and waiata to Te Piki o te Ake (Purple Peak)

CCC Councillor and Trustee Andrew Turner cuts the “ribbon” to officially open the reserve.