Houghton Valley Community Newsletter Issue No 159

June 20, 2018

Hi everyone,

It’s been a while since the last newsletter, but there have been several recent issues, actions, reactions and changes in focus; creating questions that have needed some clarification before putting them out to the wider community for discussion.

The AGM of the Houghton Valley Progressive Association is coming up on Sunday 8 July (4pm in the hall). There will be a discussion focussing on these questions – encompassing the role of the HVPA, the use of the hall and the care of the environment of our valley. The discussion and consequent decisions will be the basis of the aims of the HVPA for the coming year.

We will also celebrate the HVPA new year with a talk by our school Principal, Luana Carroll, on how she sees the school interacting with the community and caring for the area.

Up until the AGM there will be three newsletters at one week intervals, each featuring one set of questions, and providing some background information to support the discussion. We start here with the questions about the Houghton Valley Progressive Association.

Should the Houghton Valley Progressive Association reinvent itself – its name, its structure, its activities – to become more relevant?

How can we make it one of the community’s greatest assets?

How can it reflect a new outlook, based on principles of proactive community and kaitiakitanga of the place we inhabit?

History of the HVPA

In 1925, the residents of Buckley Road, Houghton Bay Road and View Road formed the South Melrose Ratepayers and Residents’ Association, with the aim of getting action on long overdue basic services such as a bus service, milk supply, electric street lighting, an extended water and gas supply and extended drainage, as well as telephone services.

In 1926, owing to confusion with Melrose, the Association was renamed the Haughton Valley Progressive Association. By then many of the services had been improved along with the building of 30 more houses.

In 1927, a local family donated land on which to build a community hall and tennis courts. There is a fuller account of these early beginnings on the Houghton Valley website.

From its beginning, the HVPA has been a voice for our community,
negotiating with the City Council over the provision of services to the suburb and the use of the generous amounts of public land in the area, with meetings often reported in the Evening Post. For instance, in 1936 and 1937, local issues included the tar sealing of the roads. Hornsey Road had potholes and Houghton Bay Road had ruts two feet wide and ten inches deep. Buckley Road in particular was in need of improvement:

“A member described the condition of Buckley Road South as unfit to carry any vehicular traffic and said it was nothing more than a gorse-covered clay track, which tradespeople would not use. It was absolutely necessary to have the road completed, as the risk of fire was too great; there was also the difficulty of access in case of sickness in the district … in cases of sickness it had frequently occurred that six doctors had been rung up. It seemed impossible to get doctors to go there because the road was impassable.”

The  image show the state of the roads and the number of houses in the lower valley in 1938. If you would like to view the image in more detail, the link is: https://files.interpret.co.nz/Retrolens/Imagery/SN70/Crown_70_D_14/High.jpg

In 1944 issues were a little more refined, such as the need for a bathing shed at Princess Bay and an improved bus route.

The HVPA continued to contribute to the vitality of our community in a range of ways over the years. It facilitated Civics lessons for our children and dances for the adults in the 1930s; preschool education since the 1940s; and, until the Civil Defence reforms of the mid 1990s, it helped ensure the valley had a strong contingent of trained volunteers in the event of a Civil Emergency.

Every decade or so another small group of Houghton Valley residents has stepped forward and replaced HVPA members who can no longer contribute their services to our community. Similarly the community uses of the hall have periodically changed in ways unimaginable to our HVPA ancestors. The time has come again for such review and the need for refreshment is upon us now.

The Association name

As you have seen, our organisation name has been changed once before. We are beginning to wonder whether this now quaintly old fashioned name is appropriate for today. In 1926, progress in the valley was important to establish basic amenities.

“Progress” over the years since has included filling large areas of the valley with the city’s excess garbage and converting its clean waters into high-risk leachate and pumping it several kilometers to Happy Valley tip (or out into the bay in high rainfall). Projects that didn’t make it included converting our fields into a light-industrial zone, or covering several of them in tarmac for a netball faciilty!

Today, we need to progress beyond “Progress”. Progressive behaviour involves careful resource use, ensuring access to affordable and democratic infrastructure, conserving our endemic soils, water, forests, wildllfe and solar potential, and respecting our Maori taonga.

Other community entities include the phrase “Residents and/or Ratepayers Association”, and are perceived as being the channel through which ratepayers lobby the Council for improved services. But maybe we need an entity that is ours first and foremost, for us to help improve our own community. Looking to the Council for help may not be the only solution.

The Association structure

The HVPA is a registered association with charitable status, like a club or society, exempt from having to pay tax. But with that status comes obligations in the form of committee meetings complete with agendas, financial reports, voting and minutes. Designed to keep organisational and financial accountability, it is never-the-less an archaic system not suited to people with busy lives. Many groups doing good work in the valley at the moment are completely ad hoc, operating on zero budgets and an email list.

Maybe it is time to find a more appropriate organisational model to base our community voice on, one that increases the inspirational activities and decreases the red tape. We have to bear in mind the realities of public liability and the possible need for applying for grants. However, trusts are less demanding in terms of membership, and one of the most enduring community models in this country is the marae. It’s time to think outside the square!

The Association role

Recently there have been examples of concerned locals doing something about a situation that bothers them. A small group approached the Council and the Cook Strait News (May 24) about the need for a better playground at the top of Sinclair Park. Another local called in the Council to help with weed clearing, who did their job in a typically insensitive manner (see photo). In earlier times people would have come to the HVPA, who would have discussed the issue with the community and approached the Council on their behalf.

A community organisation is there to listen to and represent its community. It can be slower and sometimes more fraught to get the wider community engaged in a project, but it is ultimately a far richer experience – the making of friends and the making of community.

Houghton Valley Community Newsletter Issue No 158

April 6, 2018

Hi everyone,

Another medley of items: this time video is being featured, maybe it will inspire you to send in some footage you have taken that celebrates the place where we live. Don’t forget I am happy to use photos that you have taken for the newsletter banner.

Dolphins in Houghton Bay

Last week there were literally hundreds of dolphins in Houghton and Princess Bays. A workmate of a local took some drone footage of them sporting near the shore. An amazing sight! https://youtu.be/Ou4L2_Tn-50

Progressive Association meetings

The next Houghton Valley Progressive Association meeting is coming up this Sunday, 4pm at the community hall. All are welcome. Under discussion will be the Greater Wellington Regional Council Long Term Plan and the WCC Long Term Plan coming up for consultation on April 15th.

If you are interested in what is happening over the hill, the Kilbirnie-Rongotai Progressive Association is having a meeting on 12 April at the Harbour City Chapel at 7.30pm. They will be having a guest speaker from Wellington Water with an update on storm water and the Kilbirnie pump station.

Water in our sea and skies

Upper Houghton Valley has a fine view of the Baring Heads, a promontory at the South-West entrance to Wellington Harbour. Dave McArthur has a spectacular view of the headland and has documented the ever-changing forms of water in the sea and sky over several years. Together they form a graphic ‘riff’ on his view of that headland.

This ‘animated’ version of his still images was compiled by Geoff Hume-Cook of Transforming Images, who is a past and now honorary local. The video clip was made in 2014 as part of a Waterwheel Online Conference, in which several local artists participated. https://vimeo.com/95104205

Houghton Valley Community Newsletter Issue No 157

March 21, 2018

Hi everyone,

This week (March 19-25) is local food week in Wellington, the sixth year Wellington has celebrated it. So I have been around and photographed all the wild/community fruit trees I know of in the valley, and they feature in this newsletter. If I have missed any, feel free to contact me and I can add to the list. Most trees are fairly young and not fruiting yet, but it is good to know that there are sheltered pockets in the valley where fruit trees can survive the wind, salt and the Council mowers!

Little Free Libraries in Houghton Valley

Little Free Libraries, or Lilliput Libraries, is an international movement that promotes community, responsibility, and the love of reading. Little free libraries are small book exchange libraries that people are starting to put up all over their neighbourhoods. Locals get together to make and decorate them. They are placed on private property out near the footpath so that passers by can give or take books from it. Each one has a caretaker.

If you are interested in designing, building, hosting, or being a guardian of a Little Free Library, please contact Jessica Loomis at jexico@gmail.com.

For more information, check out the following websites:

Upper Newtown Development

As the Salvation Army complex is nearing completion we have heard through the grapevine that Newtown New World is going to have an $80 million makeover of their current store. It is intended to be their headline store for Wellington.

Maybe one of these big players could expand their social services and fit in a post office!

Community Fruit Trees in Houghton Valley

Te Raekaihau Headland surprisingly has a couple of fruit trees tucked away in sheltered spots. Site No.1 is an apple tree at a junction of several tracks including the Kae Miller track, known as Bulldog corner because of the bulldog statue commemorating a local pet. The tree was planted by a local, Piebe Kooistra, who during his latter life created and looked after many tracks on the headland and planted many trees. Site No. 2 is a loquat tree at the Alice Krebs Lodge near the highest point of the headland.

On the Southern Walkway track leading up to the horse paddock behind the school, five fruit trees were planted on the bush side by locals as part of the WCC Fruit Tree Guardians Project. Site No 3. has two feijoas and a apple planted near the bottom gate, and site No 4. has two apple trees further up, near the track to the school.


On the track from the Southern Walkway down to the School, school children planted two feijoas at a sharp bend, site No. 5. Unfortunately only one has survived. At the bottom of the path and along a bit is site No. 6, an established apple tree, which bears a good crop of apples most years.

At the top of the Southern Walkway track, just before Buckley Road, site No. 7 is a group of four apple and pear trees planted by another local fruit tree guardian who is no longer living in the valley. This is a great spot for more trees as it is very sunny and sheltered.


The community gardens just North of the School, site No. 8, has three fruit trees, a lemon, a pear and a feijoa.

Houghton Valley Community Newsletter Issue No 156

March 2, 2018

Hi everyone,

The picture above shows dolphins sporting in Houghton Bay a couple of weeks ago. We are so lucky to have both bush and sea right at our doorstep! Photo by Jan (Ian) Vorster.

Predator Free Houghton Valley

Houghton Valley is joining the crusade to rid the country of rats, stoats, possums and their fellow destructive predators by 2050.

DOC estimates that 25 million birds are killed each year by rats, stoats, possums, ferrets, weasels and feral cats, and it costs the country more than $70 million to manage these predators. Predator Free New Zealand, an independent trust, is leading a campaign for trapping in urban environments.

Predator Free Houghton Valley is supplying free traps to residents to help with catching small predators. All they ask in return is that you keep your traps regularly baited and report any catches that you make. This will provide them with the information required to gauge the effectiveness of the campaign and their progress to being predator free.

One in five households is a minimum to provide coverage to the area. So far there are 30 traps in Houghton Valley, about one half to one third of what is ultimately needed.

If you’re interested in joining the campaign, PFHV will gladly supply you with the following equipment and instructions to start trapping in your backyard:

  • Victor Trap – passed international standards for humaneness of kill traps for killing stoats and rats.
  • Wooden Tunnel – the tunnel is provided to orientate the animal relative to the trap inside and to protect pets, children and non-target species from the trap.

For more information visit the PFHV Facebook page, or email  predatorfreehoughtonvalley@gmail.com, or visit Predator Free Wellington www.pfw.org.nz

What is that weed?

Over the last couple of years a weed has invaded Houghton Valley and the rest of Wellington, going by the name of asthma weed, due to its asthmatic effect on people. It has been known to cause skin rashes.

It goes by the latin name of Parietaria judaica L, and is also known as pellitory. It comes from Northern Africa and Southern Europe. It grows everywhere, liking sun, shade, dry and damp. However it seems to prefer less cultivated areas such as coastal cliffs, roadsides and waste areas. It grows well in cracks in concrete and rocks. So maybe we need to increase the nutrient value of our gardens to discourage it!

Wellington Regional Land Transportation Plan

The Regional Transport Committee  is currently undertaking a mid-term review of the Wellington Regional Land Transport Plan (RLTP). http://www.gw.govt.nz/rltplan/

The RLTP sets out the direction for the region’s land transport network over the next 10-30 years, and a programme of transport activities proposed for funding from 2015-21.

The purpose of the mid-term review is to make sure that the RLTP still meets our region’s needs for the next three years (2018-21). The main focus of the review is on the regional programme of activities.

As part of the mid-term review they are carrying out public consultation. They would like to know which of the significant transport projects in the draft plan you feel should be our top priorities. These are projects with a total cost of more than $5 million that are regionally and/or inter-regionally significant. Your feedback will help the Regional Transport Committee to finalise the priority order of these activities.

You can find more information about the project, the scope of the consultation and how to make a submission on the Greater Wellington website: www.gw.govt.nz/rltp.

Consultation closes at 5pm on Monday 12 March 2018.

The Development at No. 215 Houghton Bay Road

The Council has received a change of condition application for the development; for changes to wording of conditions of the subdivision consent to allow for the intended staging of the development. The Council’s reference number for this application is SR No. 404646. If you are a concerned neighbour and would like to know more about this application, contact a Planning Technician on 801-3590.

Maybe you might like to report back what the changes are.

Houghton Valley Community Newsletter Issue No 155

February 9, 2018

Hi everyone,

I wasn’t intending to do another newsletter quite so soon, but there are some events hosted by the Wellington Southern Bay Historical Society as part of the Island Bay Festival next week that you may be interested in. Learning about the history of where you live is a good way of feeling that you belong.

A Day in the Bay – Sunday February 11th

The Historical Society will have specially illuminated historical displays, maps and photographs of Wellington’s Southern Bays available to view in the Island Bay Surf Club Hall from 10 am to 4 pm, as part of the Day in the Bay gathering at Shorland Park. From there you can also view the Blessing of the Boats, or enjoy a seat and ice cold drinking water.

Southern Bays Historical Society Open Day – Friday February 16th

The Wellington Southern Bays Historical Society is holding an Open Day at the Island Bay Community Centre, 137 The Parade, from 10 am – 2 pm. They have a large collection of historical displays, photographs and folders, including Houghton Bay.

Our Island Bay, Our History – Saturday February 17

Colin Feslier will give a talk on the history of Island Bay with displays and photographs, with some reference to Houghton Bay as well. It will be at the Island Bay Community Centre from 3 – 4 pm.

For more details and the Society’s full Festival programme, contact Marion Findlay at marion.findlay@xtra.co.nz.

Houghton Valley’s History 

If you are interested in Houghton Valley’s history, check out the photos, stories, maps and more on the Houghton Valley website history page: http://www.houghtonvalley.org.nz/remembering/HV_remembering.html

Houghton Valley Community Newsletter Issue No 154


February 3, 2018

Hi everyone,

Looks like the Wellington weather we know and love is back from a long holiday! Items for the newsletter have also had an extended break, but now there is sufficient editorial. I hope the newsletter will be a little more frequent from now on, but I have decided it will be by demand only, so please send me any news you would like to share with the community.

HV Progressive Association Meeting

CardsThe first meeting for the year is at the hall on Sunday 11 February at 4 pm. Everyone is welcome at our meetings. Or you can just get on the mailing list for agenda and minutes by contacting Ken at kenandmirandaoe@gmail.com. Family membership is only $10 a year, and includes a FREE membership gift of hall banner cards … not available at any other outlet!

As part of the build up to Local Food Week (see below) if you have any garden or harvest surplus, maybe you would like to bring it along to the meeting to share with others.

NeigboursNeighbours’ Day March 25 – 26, 2018

Anyone out there interested in fronting an event? There is a website with resources  at http://neighboursdayaotearoa.org/ and a workshop for interested organisers on Thursday 8 Feb, 3-5pm, Thistle Hall, Corner Cuba & Arthur Streets. This is an interactive workshop facilitated by Cissy and Sam your NDA Coordinators. For more info or to register please email them at kiaora@neighboursday.org.nz

GardenLocal Food Week March 19 – 25, 2018

This is a week celebrating all that is happening around community food projects: local food, food waste, food distribution, good food business, school programmes, community gardens and more. The week also coincides with Neighbours’ Day, so it could be an opportunity to combine the two.

It would be great to have you and your organisation as part of the week celebrating all the great things that are happening in our food community. I am sending the dates out now to give you a heads up, it would be great if you could put it in your calendar and start planning if you want to be involved as the beginning of the year generally races by and we will need a confirmed event early February. Donna Wilson – donna.wilson@wcc.govt.nz

Any ideas as to what could be done? I will feature local food in the next few newsletters, to whet your appetite as it were.

Lyall bayDevelopment at Lyall Bay

The Kilbirnie-Rongotai-Lyall Bay Residents’ Association have been in consultation with the Council over carparking developments in the bay. The result of consultation on the re-development of Surfers’ Corner has found:

  • 75% of all respondents preferred the new carpark with 26 spaces as proposed. The Council will progress with this option;
  • 10% of respondents preferred a smaller carpark with 14 spaces;
  • 15% of respondents did not want a new carpark.

The closer respondents lived to Lyall Bay the more they wanted additional parking. The only groups that did not prefer Option 1 lived outside of Wellington.

Among those who responded, the main reason for visiting Lyall Bay was surfing, followed by walking the dog and going for a walk. A smaller number of people who responded were visiting to get something to eat and drink or go for a swim. Option 1 was preferred amongst all of these user groups.

Houghton Valley Community Newsletter Issue No 153


December 23, 2017

Hi everyone,

Your community newsletter is back! Many people have missed our regular community updates, so I have offered to take over sending out newsletters every two three weeks, depending on events in the Valley.

For this quick pre-Christmas newsletter, we have imported into MailChimp the old newsletter list that you originally signed up for. So if you have moved on and don’t want these newsletters, you can now just click on the unsubscribe button below.

However, if you do want to stay on the list, I hope you will enjoy once again finding out what is going on in and around your community. Please feel free to contribute news items to this newsletter, contact me at the email address below. It can be upcoming events, reports of events past, or anything of local interest. If you would like to send a photo for the title banner, it would be good to change it each time.


Icecream Icecream

The ice cream stall back again!

  • Where: 27 View Rd
  • When: 6.30 – 8 pm, Tuesday December 19th to Saturday December 23rd
  • Cost: $1 (not for profit, community run)

Christmas on the Commons

Join neighbours and friends at Te Kawakawa Commons (near 46 Hornsey Road above the bus stop) for a get together on Christmas Day between 11am and 1pm. Bring some food to share and take home some vegies!

Koha Coffee at the Hall Koha

People are keen to start up the coffee mornings again at the hall on Saturday mornings from 9.30 – 12.00 throughout the warmer months. So far we have three people prepared to be the coffee makers for a regular monthly roster, and one casual helper. We need one more person to keep a weekly session going. Any offers? We have some new, smaller and more user friendly coffee machines to get the beans doing their stuff!

Houghton Valley Community Newsletter Issue No 152

Houghton Valley Community Newsletter

Issue Number 152 – and the last?  June 6, 2016

Hi Everyone,

One way and another Grant from Hungerford Rd and Norman from View Rd have been involved with this newsletter for quite a while; Grant was the catalyst for it being established and Norman has served an extended stint as ‘editor.’ They agree it may have run its course but have different ideas about ‘what’s next’, here are their respective perspectives.

Grant writes: There is a season turn, turn, turn: a time to gain, a time to lose; the time has come for our beloved email newsletter to enter into its winter hibernation. It may awaken in the spring, if that’s what the community decrees – but in a different form.

Maybe we do not need the newsletter, because Facebook does it all, or perhaps someone will awaken it and run it in a completely new way, or maybe it is activated only when needed.

Anyway, the newsletter needs to go byebyes now, so….. Stay warm, and if you would like to kiss this toad and transform it into a prince, then pucker-up to Norman to awaken the newsletter from its slumber.

Norman writes: The end of the line. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cwqhdRs4jyA. One hundred and fifty one issues at an average of 25 a year add up to something like six years of Houghton Valley Community Newsletters, which currently goes out to around 200 households in the neighbourhood.
Alongside the website page it sought to be all things to all people but, as the person who has coordinated its compilation since 2013 (always with support from Grant from Hungerford Rd) it seems like its time to stop.

Now we have the increasingly used Facebook page which provides both immediate communications and a record of activities; then there is the fantastic website, and Neighbourly, not to mention the school newsletter and other local e-networks such as those created by the local Playcentre and action groups Friends of Houghton Valley and Guardians of the Bays.

The photographs shows one railway track ending but others going on – perhaps as good a metaphor as any for the closure of the newsletter while the journey of creating a healthy and connected community can continue using other means, should people wish.

I’d urge everyone join up the local Facebook page and also take a look at Neighbourly, and think about getting involved with all the other community activities such as the south coast time bank, and …. The plan is to put out one more issue where people can comment on, well anything. Deadline, one week for contributions.

Ma whero ma pango ka oti ai te mahi – With red and black the work will be complete This refers to co-operation where if everyone does their part, the work will be complete. The colours refer to the traditional kowhaiwhai patterns on the inside of the meeting houses.

Ka kite ano, Norman and Grant

Houghton Valley Community Newsletter Issue No 151

Houghton Valley Community Newsletter

Issue Number 151, May 17, 2016

Hi Everyone,

New possibilities: Carol has been talking with people about new community initiatives to coincide Global Sharing Week, June 4-11 (http://www.globalsharingweek.org/about). These include improving the connections between the Wellington Timebank and the Progressive Association with more people trading time with each other in Houghton Valley. She is proposing a meeting attended by a Timebank member to discusses whether the Association becomes a member (e.g. like Kaibosh http://www.kaibosh.org.nz/) or hold events at the hall involving members with specific skills). To comment and keep up with plans check out the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/119811444753435/

Fruit Tree Guardians: Jenny of Houghton Bay Rd reports that on Sunday seven people met to clear weeds to create a space to plant semi-wild community fruit trees. The site for the Houghton Valley Fruit Tree Guardian Project is alongside the track behind the school leading up to Sinclair Park, just before the horse paddock gate.Blackberry and honey suckle were cleared and used to make a low wind barrier. The bush around the other three sides will give good protection. A bit more work is still required to clear the last of the weeds.


We will be applying for some trees under the Council’s Guardian tree programme by 22 May, and planting will be around late June early July. If you are interested in helping (we will be creating more sites as well)  See  https://www.facebook.com/groups/119811444753435/

Something from Coral: http://i.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/wellington/79657967/Wellington-residents-group-to-pay-costs-for-Houghton-Bay-subdivision-case

Cheers, Norman and contributors


Houghton Valley Community Newsletter Issue No 150

Houghton Valley Community Newsletter

Issue Number 150, May 3, 2016

Hi Everyone,

Civil Defence: Houghton Bay residents have been invited to attend meetings this month organised by the Wellington Region Emergency Management Office. The Island Bay community is coming together to discuss how a significant earthquake will impact them, where they will be lead through a process to start to develop a community emergency response plan and consider other opportunities to build further resilience along the south coast. These meetings will be on Thursday evenings 5 & 19 May and 2 June at the Island Bay Bowling Club on the Parade, 7.30 – 9.30pm. A similar programme is being discussed for the wider Kilbirnie Lyall Bay area later in the year which could also include Houghton Bay.

City Council: There is an opportunity to comment on the Eastern Bays cycleway, with sessions on this as well – http://wellington.govt.nz/have-your-say/consultations. The aim is to get more cyclists on the road and the more interested you are in cycles for commuting or recreation, the more important it is to have a say.

Banners to Cards: Jan and Grant of Hungerford Rd have created a set of cards showing the banners created by local people and now hanging in the hall. See attached. These will shortly be for sale as a fundraiser for the Hall.  There are four images with envelopes at $8, but that’s not all….you can have a set free by joining the Progressive Association for the 2016-17 year!  Find out more at Koha Coffee in the hall on Saturday.

Runway Extension: Guardians of the Bays, a residents’ group opposing the Wellington airport runway extension have produced a leaflet explaining the economic, environmental and social grounds on which they oppose the extension. See attached.

Co-chair Sea Rotmann from Moa Point says the group is organising an information evening for all groups interested in the effects of the extension (from increased noise to traffic disruptions to surf and recreational fisheries or marine ecological impacts, to environmental groups concerned about climate change or groups opposing ratepayer handouts to corporate entities). http://guardiansofthebays.org.nz/media-release-local-residents-launch-myth-busters-on-proposed-wellington-runway-extension/

Cheers, Norman and contributors