Newsletter No. 207

November 10, 2021

Houghton Valley School not-Fair

Houghton Valley School are putting on a coffee, cake and clothing sale instead of their usual Country Fair. It will be on Sunday 28 November 9 am – 2 pm.

They are taking donations this week and next for pre loved clothing, dress ups, shoes and accessories, every morning 8.30 – 9 am except Thursday. (Or by arrangement with Sarah. So see what good quality stuff you might have to help out!

For more information, check out EventFinda.

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Newsletter No. 206

November 4, 2021

Celebrating Community at Koha Coffee

The next Koha Coffee will be this Saturday morning November 6 from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm at the Community Hall. Andrew is hosting. You are welcome to come to chat, bring food offerings to share.

There are two special things happening at this Koha Coffee. Firstly you can meet the Seeds-to-Feeds planning team and let them know your ideas about what would make the event special for you. They are open to offers of help – any small thing that you might like to be involved with, either beforehand or on the day. We will also do some planning around what needs to be done at the community garden over the next month, to help get the garden beds ready for the summer growing season. There may also be some seeds and seedlings for you to take home and grow for the community dinner. Secondly, bouncing off what happened last time, Koha Coffee is going to become a creative community catch-up time, where you can find out about what is happening in the community and brainstorm and share creative ideas for what we could do in Houghton Valley over the next 6 months to 100 years.

Enchanted Art in a Garden Exhibition

Enchanted – Art in a Garden is back on Sunday 21 November: 11 am – 3 pm. If you missed it last time, here is another chance to check out some beautiful (and quirky) affordable artwork (paintings, ceramics, prints, cards, textiles, mixed media) from local artists, all in the gorgeous setting of Te Kawakawa Commons. The Commons is a community garden in Hornsey Road with vege beds, bush tracks and lots and lots of birds. Come along for a dose of community connection and creativity.

Local artists include Sadie Coe, Sandy Heffernan, Miranda Munro, Sue Quigley, Jenny Rattenbury and Shar Young. Cash or phone banking only.

The Seeds to Feeds Journey

Last weekend we had a planning hui with Sarah Mills and Sacha Horton, who are the Seeds-to-Feeds co-ordinators for this season’s Festival. We have a keen local cook, Leone, who has already drafted up a great vegetarian/vegan menu. We also have a calendar of events leading up to the dinner, which is planned for Sunday March 6. Here are the first couple:

Community Gardens Working Bee, Saturday November 20, 1 pm – 4 pm

Come and help prepare our community gardens for summer vegetable planting. Wear sturdy shoes, bring gardening gloves and your favourite gardening tools, and a contribution to afternoon tea. Please RSVP (and check the date nearer the time) to hello@seedstofeeds.nz

Fruit Tree Walking Bee, Sunday December 5, 9 am – 10.30 am

Come on a tour of Houghton Valley’s wild fruit trees and help give a little back to them with a bit of weed clearing and seaweed mulching. We will start at the white gate on the Southern Walkway across the field just south of Houghton Valley School (see map)and finish at the Community Hall to join Koha Coffee. Wear sturdy walking shoes, bring gardening gloves, a weeding tool and/or hedge clippers for clearing around the trees. Please RSVP to hello@seedstofeeds.nz

HVPA and WCC News

The Houghton Valley Progressive Association held a quick Zoom meeting in October, mainly to discuss hall business. They are planning to use Zoom for the more prosaic committee business and keep the community meetings at the hall more focussed on community issues and events. They are planning a community meeting at the hall for December, if you have any ideas to you would like to discuss or a project presentation you would like to give, please email Ken.

The District Plan: there is a lot of discussion in media about consultation on the District Plan. This is particularly important as Central Government Urban Planning Guidelines have over-ridden what’s in the plan. Briefly, the default position is that three dwellings up to three stories can now be built on a standard section UNLESS there are exceptions in the District Plan: the current definition of heritage zones is no longer valid.  Although the Plan being consulted on is now out-of-date, this is a chance to signal to Council where exceptions to this intensity of development should be made OR to indicate where more density is needed.  The main reason for the changes is to speed up the creation of more housing.

If you are interested in making a submission, and a good range of viewpoints is valuable, Ken has prepared a DP2022 document with a range of avenues of how to take part in DP consultation, including some feedback from other Residents’ Associations.

Spring is here!

The shining cuckoo, or pīpīwharauroa, has just started singing in the valley, and its distinctive, whistling call is known to be the herald of spring and the beginning of the warmer months. If you aren’t sure what it sounds like, have a listen to the recording courtesy of nzbirds online (and where the photo comes from as well).

Pīpīwharauroa call

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Newsletter No. 205

October 1, 2021

Koha Coffee (and tea and yummy things) this Sunday

The next Koha Coffee will be this Sunday morning October 3, 10:30 am – 12:30 pm at the Community Hall. Katy is hosting. You are welcome to come to chat, bring food offerings and add your ideas to the 100 year vision map in the hall.

If you are interested in helping with another Seeds to Feeds dinner next March, come along and we will discuss where to go from here.

And speaking of hosting Koha Coffee, is there anyone else who would like to have a go? It’s a good opportunity to get your local friends and neighbours along to meet others in the community. A few more people would make the roster much more feasible for our stalwarts Katy and Andrew.

Predator Free programme in Houghton Bay

Predator Free Wellington are coming to Houghton Bay by the end of the year! As part of their project to eradicate pest species across the city, they will be door knocking for permission to install traps and bait stations in gardens around the bay. All traps and bait stations are free of charge, will be regularly serviced for you, and are safe for pets and kids. If you want to help them eradicate rats and stoats from the bay, you can sign up online at www.pfw.org.nz/island-bay-to-cbd.

Seeds to Feeds is back!

The Seeds to Feeds Festival is about to begin again for its third season. They are calling for interested suburbs to get a group together and attend their launch next week, 7 October. Houghton Valley have a few people interested, but they would like to see some more keen faces to make it really work. It was a great success last year, and the Community Hall was buzzing despite the Level 2 restrictions. If you would like to be involved with growing local food, cooking a meal for 60+ people or making the event a fun occasion, please either come along to Koha coffee this Sunday morning, or email Jenny.

Road works to View Road

There will be further roadworks in View Road from 8 October. The road will be resident access only while pre-seal surfacing work is done. The final chip seal will be early next year. For further information or if you have concerns contact Fulton Hogan or WCC.

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Newsletter No. 204

August 5, 2021

Koha Coffee This Saturday

The next Koha Coffee will be this Saturday morning 7 August from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm at the Community Hall. Andrew is back hosting after the extra help from Jimmy.

You are welcome to come to chat, bring food offerings, add your ideas to the 100 year vision map in the hall, and chat to Kate about the proposed community composting hub. (More about that further down.)

Report on the Houghton Valley Progressive Association AGM

The AGM of our local Residents’ Association went off, not quite without a hitch. About 15 people attended, but there was a general reluctance to offer to fill the elected officer positions. The underground network is working and things will get there in the end, at least we hope they do! As a community you must realise the consequences of not having people to run the Association, and they mean: it gets wound up; the hall has to be sold or taken over by the Council, who might decide not to let people use it, and that includes the dance classes. So yes we are working to save the hall from that fate, and you are welcome to help us as well!

Here is the President’s Report for the year.

A big positive from the AGM was the proposal to use some funds to engage someone to generate, support and co-ordinate community based projects. Subsequent discussion has brought about the offer from the Association below.

A request for an “ideas” person

People in and around Houghton Bay/Houghton Valley have been thinking a lot about “what’s next – what’s best” in this community and its environment for the generations to come. Lots of ideas are under way or under consideration. The Houghton Valley Progressive Association wants to move things along by making available modest funds accumulated over the years from revenue for hiring the local hall.

We are hoping to allocate up to $7000 to a project and this person will be an important part of that. A start is planned mid-October and final reporting by April, 2022.

Our expectation is that it will be a local person or someone with connections to the area, with an understanding of community development, a commitment to Te Tiriti o Waitangi, innovative and confident.

Rather than be prescriptive, we are interested to hear how you would approach such an open-ended, outcomes-driven initiative. Responsibilities could include exploring or seeking to secure longer-term funding. If you are keen to get involved, please:

  • Email Ken and we’ll send copies of the last few community newsletters, if you need them to bring you up to speed;
  • Use your other sources to learn about the community and what is happening;
  • Contact Ken  by September 19th for an initial discussion.

If you know someone you think might be good for this role, please forward this newsletter on to them.

Report on the Community Visioning Hui

The visioning hui was an introduction to four current community led projects, which we will follow up with in more detail as they progress. First up, Grant explained the idea of having a 100 year vision for the valley, and presented a map where people could put their ideas of what they wanted in the appropriate place. This interaction will be ongoing, you can add to it when you visit the hall for Koha Coffee or any other event. (Please note that the post-it notes need a little extra help with sellotape.)

Secondly, Kate from Kaicycle introduced the idea of a local composting hub for those people who do not keep their own compost bins. She explained the benefits of such a scheme, and her presentation is here. You can sign up to indicate your interest at http://livingcomposthubs.org.nz. She would also like to gauge general community interest, so has created a survey that you can fill in. See the section below.

Third up, Brian introduced his plan to advance the native forest cover regeneration on the Te Raekaihau, by replacing some of the dominant karo canopy with endemic pioneer species before moving on to recreating a typical climax forest. His vision extends to 800 years! His presentation is here. The first lot of planting happened last Sunday, with more this Sunday. For more information go to the Group’s Facebook Page.

And lastly, Norman presented his idea to change the name of our local area to Haewai, which might help end the age-old difference between the names Houghton Valley and Houghton Bay. He explained that the process of changing the name involved the NZ Geographic Board and the Local Council first, and then iwi approval. Maybe we will begin with changing the rather dated name of our Association!

Composting Hub Community Interest Survey

Below is a suggested site and layout for a local compost hub for Houghton Valley, but this is only a beginning. We need community input to make sure the right thing is being done.

This survey is for everyone to take part. You might like to look at the presentation in the previous section first to help form your opinion. In the survey you can indicate whether you want or don’t want the hub, and whether you will or will not use the service. We welcome all inputs to gauge a true interest. The survey link is here.

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Newsletter No. 203

July 10, 2021

Community Visioning Hui and AGM

A reminder about the Visioning Hui and Houghton Valley Progressive Association AGM at the Community Hall this Sunday, 11 July. The programme is (more or less);

  • 3.00 pm: Presentations and workshop discussions on a 100 year vision for the valley, a local composting hub, planting on Te Raekaihau Headland and the idea of changing our name to Haewai;
  • 4.30 pm: Tea break
  • 4.45 pm: Progressive Association AGM, including President’s report, financial report, election of officers/committee, general business, subscriptions due.
  • 5.30 pm: Finish

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Newsletter No. 202

July 2, 2021

Koha Coffee This Sunday

The next Koha Coffee will be this Sunday July 4 from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm at the Community Hall. Katy is hosting. Here’s a message from our recent host Jimmy:

“Over the last three months, I have hosted Koha coffee at the Houghton Valley community centre as a part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award. I have enjoyed meeting new people in the community and I think my coffee-making skills have improved (but maybe not my tea). Thank you for letting me host this event and I look forward to seeing you around.”

Invitation to a Community Visioning Hui

Houghton Valley Community Hall, Sunday July 11, 3 – 4.30 pm

For some time locals have been thinking about a 100 year vision for our special South Coast community, wondering what it might look like in 100 years. They have even been thinking about whether it could be renamed.

Imagine if the valley and the hills were planted in flourishing native forest, with sunny pockets for wild fruit trees and other plants to forage. Imagine a stream with freshwater wildlife running down to the beach. Imagine emerging from the forest and coming across breath taking views, open spaces with picnic areas, sports and playgrounds, an urban farm and a local composting hub at the centre of a community resilience project.

Imagine if the area had a different name, going back to our mana whenua roots. Imagine so many other things! What can you imagine? How can we get to there from here? We need to develop our vision, identify some key stages and begin the journey.

Immediately prior to its annual general meeting, the Houghton Valley Progressive Association will be hosting a Visioning Hui to begin brainstorming this 100 year vision and present some projects that we can engage with and begin now. Short presentations will give the background and discussions will give you the opportunity to have your say and make your suggestions. The topics are:

  • Introduction to the 100 year vision;
  • Restoration planting on Te Raekaihau;
  • A community/Kaicycle composting hub;
  • Creating an overarching name for the area: Haewai.

Fuelled by inspiration and refreshments, you are invited to stay on for the Houghton Valley Progressive Association AGM. We hope you will consider becoming involved with the organisation that can help our community turn our dreams into reality.

Houghton Valley Progressive Association AGM

Houghton Valley Community Hall, Sunday July 11, 4.30 – 5.30 pm

In this 1960 picture of the hall from the Evening Post Collection, Alexander Turnbull Library, we know who the official in the suit is [Frank Kitts] but we don’t know who all the people doing the work are! Doing the work in the background to keep the hall a community asset is an ongoing task for the Houghton Valley Progressive Association, but engaging with and supporting community projects and events is also a vital role.

The Association’s AGM will follow on after the Visioning Hui on Sunday 11 July. At the AGM we elect the President, Treasurer, Secretary and Hall Manager for the year. This year there are a few gaps in the major roles and we need new community kaitiaki to help share the roles that keep our community represented. It is not sustainable for the same few people to be continuing year after year, but maybe we need to rethink these roles and inject some inspiration into them.

The President’s role could be a community co-ordinator, with funding behind it to enhance and promote community activities and concerns. The treasurer could be a fundraiser for community projects. The secretary could be in charge of community communications: the newsletter, the website, noticeboards. The hall manager could work towards a vision to refresh and upgrade the facility and bring it into the heart of the community. Each role could have a small team to help create inspiration and to share the workload.

Please think about this and if you have an interest, come along and share your ideas and your care for the future of this special place. Children are welcome. If you have any items for the agenda please send them to the president, Ken. We will send out the agenda via members and a special newsletter a few days before the meeting.

Houghton Valley Stream

We have had a bit of rain recently, and guess what happens? The surplus ground water collects and finds channels to travel along, and hey presto we have a stream! And that’s only the water from one side of the valley. Unfortunately, it eventually finds its way into the landfill pipes, which is what we want to try and change, to give it a chance to find its way unmolested to the sea.

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Newsletter No. 201

June 2, 2021

It looks like Local Food is the flavour of the month! Read on to see what is happening, and what you can be doing in the next little while.

Koha Coffee This Saturday

Koha Coffee is on this Saturday, 5 June. Come along to Houghton Valley Community Hall from 10:30 until 12:30. Jimmy, who is a school student at Rongotai College, will be hosting this community event for the last time as part of his Duke of Edinburgh bronze award. Please bring a plate to share and we will see you there. All welcome!

A Houghton Valley Compost Hub

Discussions are continuing around a local Kaicycle composting hub, and the group is starting to establish a few parameters. The field just South of the school looks like it will be a good site, with access to deliver mulch and receive the food waste. We hope to create an earth berm shelter around the area, that can be planted with natives and perhaps even some fruit trees, as well as a wet weather path to the school gate. The waste will be collected in key pad locked bins so that only those subscribed to the scheme have access. A compost manager will use the waste and other organic matter deliveries to make compost to be used by the subscribers and various community projects, and will be happy to demonstrate the process. Keeping the site vermin free will be a priority.

Houghton Valley School Food Box

Kia Ora Haewai Whanau! My name is Tom Stewart-Edwards, a former Houghton Valley School student. With the help of some incredible young people, we have been able to set up a community food box just outside the Houghton Valley School gate. Feel free to swing by and pick up or give food, or even simply draw on the box. All canned goods are accepted as well as warm clothes for our whanau who need them coming into winter.

Applications for Fruit Trees Open

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Thanks to Wellington City Council and the Nikau Foundation, the Sustainability Trust have fruit trees available again this year in the Fruit Tree Guardian programme. These trees can be planted at schools, marae, community centres, and any other approved locations where the community will be able to enjoy the fruit.

Apply by the end of June and get your fruit trees planted in July/August.

Houghton Valley already has several trees growing from this programme, as well as some great wild apple trees. They are mostly near the school and along the walkway down from Buckley Road. If you know of a sunny sheltered spot and are prepared to care for the trees during their first tender years, please consider making an application. The best trees for the area seem to be apples, feijoas and plums.

Houghton Valley Progressive Association Upcoming Event

On Sunday July 11 is the Houghton Valley Progressive Association Annual General Meeting. It is over a month away but we would like to give you advance notice as we wish to make it a community occasion, where prior to the actual meeting we can give some presentations and discuss important issues around a 100 year vision for our community, including environmental and local food projects.

The AGM is where we appoint people in various roles to administer the Association, the hall and other community initiatives. Are you interested in a small community role and getting to know other locals, or do you know someone you can encourage to volunteer as President, Secretary, Privacy Officer, Treasurer or Hall Manager? Another less traditional approach that has been suggested for the AGM is to focus roles around projects for the year, of which there are several current ones to choose from and maybe some of your own making. However we organise things though, the traditional wisdom comes to mind:  “He aha te mea nui o te ao?  He tangata, he tangata, he tangata.”

Keep your eating out local this weekend

All six lanes of Jervois Quay will be closed for a four-day period over Queens Birthday weekend to allow multiple crews to work around the clock to replace a 100 year old pipe that has failed. Work will start at about 7pm on Thursday 3 June and the road will reopen before 6am on Tuesday 8 June.

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Newsletter No. 200

April 29, 2021

Koha Coffee this Sunday

Koha Coffee is on this Sunday, 2 May. Come along to Houghton Valley Community Hall from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm. Jimmy, who is a school student at Rongotai College, will be hosting this community event again as part of his Duke of Edinburgh bronze award. It was a great buzz last time. Please bring a plate to share and we will see you there. All welcome!

Talking about a Houghton Valley compost hub

Next week a group of locals are going to talk to Kaicycle about whether setting up a compost hub here in Houghton Valley is feasible for people that don’t compost at home. The discussion will centre around where the set-up should be, and how to keep the system working effectively.

Houghton Valley locals meet the Whaitua Committee

On Wednesday 14 April, a good turn out of locals welcomed the Whaitua te Whanganui-a-Tara and other interested water restoration groups to an evening of shared aspirations and conversations about how to restore the Houghton Valley water catchment.

The evening started at the playground near Hungerford Road and the manuhiri were welcomed with a mihi, karakia and waiata. The guests were then invited to “cross over” the stream beneath. Then after some introductions, there was a quick tour of the local springs and wetland before everyone headed up to the school hall for some kai, presentations and discussions.

The evening was very positive, and yielded several good leads to take as our next steps in raising awareness of the condition of our valley’s water and beginning to heal the damage. You can view the slide show we presented to the Whaitua Committee here.

Tree planting this season on Te Raekaihau

Local conservationist Brian is planning the planting of 1,000 trees on a slope above the Te Awa-awa Track up from Princess Bay. There will be a few sessions to help prepare the site, bring in the trees and of course, plant them. If you are keen to be involved, there will be notices in our local Facebook Group. We are also re-kindling the old Te Raekaihau Restoration Group Facebook Page, so you can join up with that as well. If you don’t do Facebook, please contact the editor. The plantings from last year have survived the dry spells and are doing well.

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Newsletter No. 199

April 11, 2021

Sharing a vision for the waterways in Houghton Valley

This Wednesday, 14 April, the Wellington region Whaitua Committee, Te Kāhui Taiao and neighbouring water restoration groups have been specially invited to join the Houghton Valley community for an evening of shared aspirations and conversations about how to restore the Houghton Valley water catchment. A group of locals are passionate about solving our environmental problems and are keen to share their vision and challenges.

This invitation is also open to the Houghton Valley community as an introduction to the ideas, but there with be further community engagement opportunities as the project gains momentum. If you are interested in coming along this week here are some details:

  • 5.30pm: the event will begin at the Buckley Road Reserve playground near Hungerford Road with a welcome and look at the nearby springs and wetland area. Parking is a little congested around the playground at times, so if you are coming by car, make sure you allow time to walk from your parking spot to arrive before 5.30 pm;
  • 6.00pm: everyone will reconvene at the school hall for some kai and the Houghton Valley presentation. The Whaitua Committee and Te Kāhui Taiao members will then have the opportunity to introduce themselves, and share a bit about what they are doing. The rest of the evening will be open for facilitated conversations, questions and dialogue until about 8 – 8.30 pm, or whenever it’s appropriate to wrap up.

If you are able to RSVP by Tuesday morning that would be great (to help with catering), but otherwise please just come – we would love your support!

(153 recipients, 99 opens)

Newsletter No. 198

March 31, 2021

An Easter special Koha Coffee

Koha Coffee is on this Saturday, 3 April. Come along to Houghton Valley Community Hall from 10:30 am – 12:30 pm. Jimmy, who is a school student at Rongotai College, will be hosting this event in our community as part of his Duke of Edinburgh bronze award. Jimmy will organise some Easter themed colouring in for younger children. Please bring a plate to share and we will see you there. All welcome!

A good start to the day…

Early morning Hatha Yoga classes are now on offer at the Community Hall. Tutor Marilyn is a newcomer to the valley and is offering these classes, starting after Easter. She is hoping to make it to Koha Coffee this Saturday, so you can come and connect up with her. Otherwise contact her as below.

Hungerford and View Road roadworks: iImportant information!

Hungerford Road between View Road and Queens Drive will be resurfaced from Monday 19 April – Friday 23 April. View Road resurfacing will begin on Tuesday 27 April, and Fulton Hogan encourages residents of both streets to get in touch with them as to the finer details of access and other issues. Below is the general outline and you will see how important it is that you make sure you are on their email list for further details.

Between the working hours of 7 am – 5 pm the whole of Hungerford Road (from Houghton Bay Rd to Queens Dr) will be deemed “closed” with resident access only. Vehicular access during this time will be highly restricted and only granted to those with special requirements, which means parking down on the flat. Residents of Hungerford Road East will be able to park on a site beside Queens Drive. See picture below. During working hours there will be guided access to your property, both on foot and with a shuttle service provided by Fulton Hogan. Outside of working hours, the street will remain closed although there will be more flexible vehicular access. The work site will be staffed 24/7 by traffic control people. For residents of View Road, you will be able to enter your street via Houghton Bay Road only.

During this time, all bus services will remain closed on both Hungerford and View Road. There will be temporary bus stops located on Houghton Bay Road opposite the entrance to Hungerford Road (by Buckley Road Reserve Playground) and Houghton Bay Road opposite View Road (just past the Houghton Valley Playcentre). This bus service detour will remain in place after the Hungerford Rd work is completed to allow for the View Road works to take place.

Rubbish collection will be completed by the normal contractor or Fulton Hogan, please put your bins out before 7 am on Friday morning or if possible the night before. If you have a private bin, please let them know.

Deliveries / trades people will be handled on a case by case basis. All Uber, taxi, supermarket deliveries etc you’re expecting and are able to let them know in advance will help us ensure your delivery isn’t turned away.

Enchanted by the art in one of our local gardens

After a weather postponement, the sun came out for March 14 and lots and lots of people came to Enchanted – Art in a Garden at Te Kawakawa Commons. They were able to enjoy the delights of the garden as well as the art works, and many took away an art souvenir of the occasion. It was a real community event where connections were both made and rediscovered. For those of you who couldn’t make it, Enchanted will return!

 

(154 recipients, 99 opens)