Newsletter No. 239

August 10, 2023

Houghton Valley School Strategic Plan 2024

Houghton Valley School is developing a two-year strategic plan to replace their school charter for 2024, to fit with Government changes for school planning and reporting. They would love input from the wider community as well through a 5-10 minute survey.

The Board’s view is that the current vision statement – Caring, Exploring and Inspiring Together. Ka Manaaki, Ka Rapu, Ka Whakamanawa tahi ai tatou – is still serving the school well and would be happy for this to be carried through to the new strategic plan, but they would like to hear your thoughts on whether it needs updating. The Government has set some requirements for what else must be included in the strategic plan including:

  • Strategies for identifying and catering for learners whose needs have not yet been well met;
  • Strategies for giving effect to the Board’s Te Tiriti o Waitangi obligations;
  • The strategic goals need to be linked with the national education requirements, including the National Education Learning Priorities, the curriculum, and other national education strategies.

There are some questions in the survey that relate to these requirements. You can fill in the anonymous online survey here. Surveys must be completed by 17 August.

Te Mauri O Te Wai in Houghton Valley/Haewai

The next Houghton Valley Progressive Association meeting is coming up on Sunday 27 August at 2 pm at the Houghton Valley Community Hall. For this meeting we would like to bring the focus back on our Lifting the Creek Project.

This project is about restoring Te Mauri O Te Wai, the health of the water that graces our valley with its presence: whether it be our freshwater springs and our creek buried under the landfill; the rainwater that rushes down the hills, off houses and along gutters during heavy rain; or the sea in Houghton Bay that is part of the Tapu Te Ranga marine reserve. Much of the water that lands in our catchment is directed into pipes beneath our old landfill, becoming contaminated with leachate. This water is generally directed to the sewer, but in heavy rain (and many other inexplicable times) this sometimes highly polluted water ends up in the sea.

Authorities and local officials are always keen when we suggest what could be done to fix the problem, but then nothing further happens because there is always something more urgent to fix, or not enough money. We have been knocked back several times despite a lot of effort bringing the plight of our water into the spotlight.

Finding a way through this impasse is the theme for this meeting. We will discuss what we know and would like to do, so that we can develop a brief for the project. Getting everything we know out of people’s head and into an inspiring document is an essential first step. We can also discuss what we can do with the brief once it is done. Could we develop a feasibility study for the project? How can we engage with authorities so that they can help us to advance the project, rather than expect them to do so? We hope you can participate – more details closer to the time.

Community gardens afternoon tea

Our next Koha Coffee will in fact be an afternoon tea/picnic, in the community gardens near the school. The afternoon tea will be on Sunday 10 September at 2pm, but there is likely to be a gardens working bee as well beforehand.

The Seeds-to-Feeds crew and local-legend-Leone will be preparing the food and drink, so expect a wonderful feast! There may be a few working bees between now and then to make sure the garden is looking good. More details to come, but save the date for now.

Headland happenings …

It was a  great afternoon up at the Alice Krebs Lodge to celebrate Founder’s Day for the Kae Miller Trust, and to show some community and Matariki care for Te Raekaihau. Lots of talking and eating in the lodge, walking on the headland, planting around the lodge and tackling the tradescantia infestation, a long overdue project, but still with quite a bit more to do despite an awesome effort. All in all about 33 people came. It was stunning weather too with beautiful early evening light.

More recently, Te Ohu o Te Raekaihau kicked their weeding season off tackling Helichrysum petiolare or Licorice plant, a weed from South Africa. Fortunately there is only one (known) infestation of the plant in the reserve so eradicating it from the headland means that they can focus on other priorities: Evergreen Buckthorn, Old Man’s Beard, tradescantia, Cape Ivy, Japanese Honeysuckle and English Ivy. Another beautiful day.

In case you haven’t got the message from the pictures, being up on the headland doing good things for the environment is the most wonderful way to spend a few hours, and certainly gives you a winter lift. Sign up to their Facebook Page for details about upcoming sessions.

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Newsletter No. 238

July 12, 2023

Our Matariki banner includes an image taken from a painting by local artist Miranda Munro, currently being shown at the NZ Academy of Fine Arts in town.

Nau mai, haere mai ki Matariki kei Te Raehaikau

Te Ohu o Te Raekaihau and the Kae Miller Trust welcome you to celebrate both Matariki and the Kae Miller Trust’s Founder’s Day. Come and enjoy connecting with others, and caring for and learning about our local tāonga: Te Raekaihau.

Ā hea (when): Rāmere / Friday, 14th Hūrae / July, 2 – 4.30 pm.

Kei hea (where): Meet at Alice Krebs Lodge near the lookout at the top of the hill, entry from 113 View Road (South). Please note that parking is limited in the cul-de-sac.

He aha (what): We have a range of activities planned for the afternoon:

  • From 2 pm: Shared kai and kapu tī (afternoon tea) at Alice Krebs lodge with a kōrero about the history of Kae Miller.
  • From 3.30 pm: Choose between a hikoi (walk); tree planting; tradescantia weeding or just hanging out at the lodge;
  • What to bring: If you want to plant, bring gloves and spade; for weeding, gloves and a metal rake if you can.

Ko wai tatou (who are we?)

Te Ohu o Te Raekaihau: a group of people with a strong connection to Te Raekaihau, focussed on its re-indigenisation and connecting of moana, ngahere, and communities. Collectively, we are planting about 2000 indigenous trees each year and coordinate weeding and other initiatives on the headland. You can join our mailing list here.

Kae Miller Trust: In 1981, Kae Miller adopted Te Raekaihau and formed the View Road Park Society to look after it. She built a small building in 1985 and named it the Alice Krebs Lodge after her friend Alice, who survived two years in a concentration camp. Kae lived in the lodge as a caretaker of the park, planting many trees in the name of conservation and peace, until 1990. The Kae Miller Trust was formed in 2007 to honour and continue Kae’s vision, planting trees and looking after the lodge.

Here is some more information on Kae Miller.

Just to say …

There will be no Koha Coffee in August, but once the sap starts stirring again there will be plenty of events to join in with.

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Newsletter No. 237

June 30, 2023

Koha Coffee

Sunday 2nd July, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm: Come along to the Community Hall and chat with friends, neighbours and other locals. In case you hadn’t realised, the Koha Coffee spread is getting rather yummy, and we are getting into kawakawa tea as well. Bring some food to share and/or a koha.

Matariki kei Te Raekaihau

July 14th this year is a double celebration for Houghton Valley. Te Ohu o Te Raekaihau are celebrating Matariki and the Kae Miller Trust are celebrating their Founder’s Day. So they are holding a combined afternoon tea at the Alice Krebs Lodge on Te Raekaihau from 2pm. There will also be some tree planting, weeding and a headland walk. Details are still being finalised, so there will be special invite sent out closer to the time. But in the meantime save the date for some good family and community fun.

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Newsletter No. 236

June 8, 2023

A little bit of blue to keep us going, and plenty of reading as well!

Planting on Te Raekaihau

Every Saturday in June, July and maybe some of August, 10 am – 12 pm: Have a great morning planting a diverse range of native trees on our local headland with Te Ohu o Te Raekaihau. Find out the meet up details and weather postponements on the group Facebook Page, or sign up for their newsletter.

Our group featured on a Greater Wellington Regional Council Te Taiao Webinar for Restoration Week 2023 in the last week of May. Check out Webinar No. 4 on pest plants, but there are several others as well.

Koha Coffee

Sunday 11 June, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm: Come along to the Community Hall and chat with friends, neighbours and other locals, and maybe let us know what you would like to do as a community in the next 12 months. Bring some food to share and/or a koha.

WREMO Emergency Preparedness Workshop

We had a good turn out to the workshop held at the school, complete with fish and chips for dinner. Thanks to Katie of WREMO for facilitating it. There were not quite enough people to run a full scenario based workshop, but we can hold one later. We learnt about the basics of the Community Hub and the roles community members can volunteer for to help the community once their own needs are met. The roles include:

  • Supervisor
  • Information co-ordination
  • Public information
  • Needs and offers
  • Community space
  • Communications
  • Facility maintenance

We also brainstormed the strengths and weaknesses of our community, a good way to start developing a community emergency preparedness plan. We are also planning to hold another workshop to focus on what to do at home to be prepared, so we will keep you posted.

Found a problem?

Every so often (or often more-often-than-not) something is wrong with our ageing infrastructure or other things around our community. If you are concerned about something when you are out walking, then there are some options to contact the officials most likely to do something about it.

WCC has three ways of contacting them. For urgent issues you need to contact them on (04) 499 4444. Otherwise take a photo and you can go to their Report a Problem page and go from there, or you can download their FIXiT app for your phone to register it right then and there.

Another thing is to check that divers in our Marine Reserve are just looking and not gathering. Not long ago some out of town people were happily harvesting some magnificent crayfish, but some hotline calls to the Department of Conservation (0800 362 468) and the Ministry for Primary Industries (0800 476 224) saved the day and the crayfish.

Houghton Valley Progressive Association News

The Houghton Valley Progressive Association AGM has resulted in the re-election of Jenny Rattenbury as Chair, Derek LeDayn as Secretary and Brian Fowler as Treasurer. Leone Basher has been elected to the committee to be in charge of Events. The Hall Bookings Manager position remains vacant, but we are happy to accept any late offers!

Here is the AGM slideshow presentation of what we (HVPA and the community) have done over the last year.

Hall roof update: we have been gradually building up funds with $15,000 from the Give-a-little page (i.e. you lovely community people), $15,000 from the Wellington City Council Emergency Fund, and $5,000 from the New Zealand Community Trust. We are still short of what we need, so will be applying for more funds. This will put the repair date back to the summer, but we have fixed the roof leak so the problem is not so urgent.

Climate Change Meeting Report

It was pretty much standing room only at the Coastal Communities and Climate Change meeting at the Wellington South Baptist Church Hall, where speakers included Professor Jonathan Boston, a member of the Expert Working Group on Managed Retreat, Rongotai Candidates Julie Anne Genter, Fleur Fitzsimons and Karuna Muthu, and Jamuna Rotsteina WCC Climate Change Team representative. They reported on progress with how our South Coast Communities can adapt to ever increasing storm surges and eventual sea level rise.

Jonathan’s speech had many sobering points, including how proactive retreat is harder to fund due to no contributions from insurance companies; how little time we have left before we release more carbon than is good for us at current rates (12 years actually); and that climate change is a multi-generational problem – it will be around for a long time. If you missed out you can check out further EDA Resources.

Composting Workshop Notes

Kaicycle and WCC organised and hosted a composting workshop, which was attended by some of our community gardeners. The Workshop Notes they provided are truly awesome so we have attached them here. They cover large as well as small scale composting.

WCC are beginning to provide opportunities to set up community composting hubs, something we would like to achieve sometime in Houghton Valley. If you are interested in being involved in developing one, contact

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Newsletter No. 235

May 5, 2023

Back in 2015 a group of artists from Houghton Valley created the banners for our community hall over several Friday evening sessions, and they now have pride of place and brighten up the space. The banners depict aspects and stories of Houghton Valley and its history.

Now in 2023 the events and projects are still continuing … lots on this month.

Planting on Te Raekaihau

Sunday 7 May, 10 am – 12 pm: This is the first session of the 2023 planting programme – ko ngā rākau rua mano! The aim is to start planting out the newly created lightwells with over 40 different native species in some locations. Meet at the Te Raekaihau lookout near the Alice Krebs lodge. There will be some digging tools and gloves but please bring your own if you can. In the event of bad weather it will be postponed to the following weekend. Please check the group Facebook Page for updates.

Koha Coffee

Sunday 7 May, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm: Come along to the Community Hall and chat with friends, neighbours and other locals, and we’d love anyone handy to help us replace some fluorescent light bulbs in the hall.

Bring some food to share and/or a koha. And just to let you know the surplus koha money has been helping us improve the kitchen crockery and utensils to make our community meals even better.

WREMO Emergency Preparedness Workshop

Wednesday May 10, 6 – 8 pm: We are having an emergency response workshop at the Houghton Valley School Hall, in conjunction with WREMO and Houghton Valley School. This will be a Community Hub scenario based workshop, so you can find out how our local hub at the school and community members can work together to help each other during and after a disaster.

Come along and find out more about the Houghton Bay Community Emergency Hub and the types of help that may be needed after an emergency. Have fun meeting together and practicing various volunteer roles with an interactive earthquake scenario. Open to all ages and abilities, no experience needed. Refreshments provided! Please sign up for this free event ASAP so that we can gauge numbers.

Houghton Valley Progressive Association AGM

Sunday 14 May, 2 – 3.30 pm: Come and celebrate what we have done in the last year, what we are still doing and what we plan to do! And you can let us know what you think we should be doing here in Houghton Valley. After the main business we will have a splendid afternoon tea.

Our President, Secretary and Treasurer are all happy to stand again, but we will be looking for someone to join the committee to handle the role of hall bookings. Would you be interested? Please contact Jenny at for a description of this small but important role. We would also like to expand our cool little committee with another one or two people to help with discussion and decisions and to take on a specific role that interests you. This could be events, fundraising, environmental concerns – whatever is important to you!

Subscriptions are now due. The membership fee remains at $10, for one person, or for two people in one household at the same address. We need the name, address and email of each member for our records and for voting – please send these details to Jenny at You can pay your subscription online to Houghton Valley Progressive Association 38-9024-0613101-00 with your name and 2023-24 Sub in the payment details. (Please note this is a new bank account number, we are transitioning to Kiwibank.)

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Newsletter No. 234

March 31, 2023

Lots of events on at the moment, and not just weather ones. More views from Dave’s window (above) remind us of the beauty of our weather as well as its sheer force.

Old Man’s Beard Weeding on Te Raekaihau

Saturday 1 April, 10 am – 12 pm: We keep on finding more of this invasive weed on the headland, especially now that it is in flower. Come and join the regulars for a rewarding session in an awesomely beautiful spot. Some tools and gloves will be available but please bring your own if you can.In the event of bad weather it will be postponed to Sunday, in which case you will have to decide between this and the event below. Please check the group Facebook Page for updates.

Koha Coffee

Sunday 2 April, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm: Come along to Koha Coffee at the Community Hall and catch up with friends and neighbours. No planning agendas this time, just a social event, but we always welcome community ideas and inspiration! Bring some kai to share, or a koha.

He Korero Haewai Whakatuwhera

Wednesday April 5, 7.45 am: Our ākonga have been working with an artist, Kate Te Ao, on a Creatives in School Project telling the history of Te Whanganui-a-Tara and focusing in on Haewai/Houghton Bay. The community led history hikoi and korero last year conributed a lot of information for the project.

We would love the wider community to come and connect with our kura.

Seeds-to-Feeds Dinner

What an awesome occasion it was! Our hall came alive with gorgeous rugs, flax weaving, fairy lights, and our colourful banners, crockery and food. Children played and drew in the centre, while the adults feasted and chatted around them. DJ Ange from Seeds-to-Feeds provided the music and Sarah from Seeds-to-Feeds and all the volunteers made sure everything came together in time. We even got to meet two of our Rongotai Candidates: Fleur Fitzsimons (Labour) and Julie Anne Genter (Green).

Great fun was had by all, even by the stalwart dish washers. As Sarah commented afterwards:

“How do you best describe a meal that goes deeper than filling your belly? How do you explain the new connections sending buzzing around the room? How do you articulate the feeling of sharing Kai with old friends and new?

The Haewai Harvest dinner was a true community feast. An incredible inclusive menu made by the wonderful Leone, featuring the now infamous foraged salad, vegetable tart and millet stew. The Kai showcased what this mighty area has to offer!”

Soil Remediation Workshop

On March 11 four members of the Houghton Valley Community Garden attended a WCC sponsored seminar on agro-ecology at the Kaicycle Urban Farm in Newtown. Agro-ecology is the application of ecological concepts and principles to farming.

We learned, contrary to common belief, that plants do not compete underground. Rather they develop extensive, complex, cooperative systems and thrive in diversity. We also learned of bacterial quorum-sensing (QS) molecules, one of the primary means of allowing communication between bacterial cells or populations, and how we can feed the bacteria that keep the plants healthy.

The photos show the plot we planned and planted according to these principles (and what it will turn into). The Houghton Valley Community Garden is adjacent to our school and anyone is welcome to become involved in our attempts to improve our gardening skills. Contact Jenny at and we can join you up with the WhatsApp Group to find out what is happening and when people will be there.

If you wish you’d been there to learn about it, have a read of the Agro-Ecology Notes put out by Kaicycle.

HVPA Membership Renewals

Membership subscriptions for the Houghton Valley Progressive Association 2023 – 2024 year are now due as of April 1st 2023. We invite you to consider becoming members of the Association to help support us in our work, which includes:.

  • Providing updates of what has been happening in and around the community and notifications of wider community issues (i.e. this newsletter);
  • Keeping the community owned hall maintained and fit for use by the community and recreational groups, including the InStep Dance Studio;
  • Facilitating the organisation and hosting of community events (i.e. Seeds-to Feeds and Koha Coffee);
  • Providing funding support for approved local projects;
  • Giving you the right to vote on community issues at General Meetings and elections at Annual General Meetings.

The annual membership fee remains at $10, for one person, or for two people in one household at the same address. We need the name, address and email of each member for our records and for voting.

So if you would like to join (or renew your current membership), please reply to Jenny at with your name/s, preferred email address/es and street address once you have paid your subscription online to:

Houghton Valley Progressive Association (BNZ Kilbirnie) 02 0520 0143013 000 with your name and 2023-24 Sub in the payment details. [Now a new bank account]

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Newsletter No. 233

March 2, 2023

Our School bakes for Cyclone affected schools

Friday March 3, 2.55 pm: Tāmariki at HVS are putting on a bake sale this Friday 3rd March at the school bottom court area from 2.55pm – all profits will go to one of the schools that has been badly affected by recent weather events in the Hawke’s Bay. So come along and grab some yummy baking. We also appreciate any extra baking from our extended community. We will have a koha box available for extra donations.

Koha Coffee

Sunday 4 March, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm: Come along to Koha Coffee at the Community Hall and catch up with friends and neighbours. The Seeds-to-Feeds planning group will be hosting, and finalising the plans for our community dinner the following Sunday.

Seeds to Feeds Haewai Harvest Dinner

Sunday, March 12, 5.30 – 8.30 pm: Come and join our local food celebration in our Community Hall. The meal will include locally grown and foraged ingredients as well as some from not far away. We have another wonderful plant based, gluten free menu for you, created by Leone and the Seeds-to-Feeds helpers, including:

  • Harvest vegetable flans;
  • Spicy millet and vegetable stew;
  • Our signature foraged salad;
  • Homemade preserves;
  • Quinoa and rhubarb crunch;
  • Pumpkin bread pudding;
  • Kawakawa tea
  • Non-alcoholic beverages infused with elderberries, elderflowers and lemons.

We can’t wait to share beautiful kai from our ngāhere and local mārakai with you! Please sign up soon so that we have a good idea of numbers leading up to the event. Bookings are koha based, with a recommended $20 for an adult and $10 for a child. Get your tickets here.

Water Play in the Bay

A few weeks ago, the playground in Houghton Valley was a happening place with a huge water slide, water activities and food to buy. Water was provided via a fire engine to get a heap of children and a few adults whizzing down the slope. It felt somewhat strange having a public event in this corner of the world, but it was certainly well attended and looked lots of fun!

Almost exactly a year ago, nature provided us with its own water slide in the same place, when the stream pipe blocked and the water overflowed, creating a wonderful boogie boarding ride for a few who didn’t mind going out in the rain.

Day in the Bay

On the same day at the Island Bay Day in the Bay, our local restoration group Te Ohu o Te Raekaihau held a stall to promote their work and raise awareness of invasive weeds in the area. There were other groups there for the same reason, and so as well as informing the public, connections were made so that the various groups could support each other in their endeavours to create healthy forest ecosystems along the South Coast.

Hall Working Bee and HVPA meeting

A great bunch of people came to the hall working bee and helped with cleaning the hall, trimming the grass, clearing back vegetation, removing rubbish found in the bush nearby and providing afternoon tea. Thanks for an awesome effort! There is still a bit more cleaning to do around the front of the building, which will be done shortly, but so far it has made an amazing difference.

The emergency preparedness discussion was as productive as it could be, given that the WREMO representative had been re-deployed to Napier. We highlighted the need for some basic planning to be done first to establish what the community hub can provide before running a scenario based workshop.

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Newsletter No. 232

February 9, 2023

I went for a walk in the forest yesterday and found ferns and fairy doors – it was a bit like the calm before a storm (of events) …

Te Ohu o Te Raekaihau weeding session

Saturday 11 February, 10 am – 12 pm

We will be culling Old Man’s Beard on Te Raekaihau before it flowers. Meet at the junction of Te Ranga a Hiwi Track and Kae Miller Track (about 100m south of the lookout). Bring cutting tools and gloves if you can, clothes and shoes for a bit of scrambling, and water for rehydrating.

Day in the Bay

Sunday 12 February, 10 am – 5 pm

The Island Bay Festival is back! As well as enjoying the general vibe, check out the stall held by our very own Te Ohu o Te Raekaihau group, who can show you the sorts of weeds they are working on getting rid of in our neighbourhood.

Water Play in the Bay

Sunday 12 February, 1 – 3 pm

If you are needing to cool down after visiting Island Bay, come and try water sliding and other water fun activities at the Buckley Reserve playground near Hungerford Road. Bring a picnic too. For more details go to Eventfinda.

Houghton Valley Progressive Association Meeting

Sunday 19 February, 1 – 3.45 pm

As you can see from the abundance of events this weekend, we have changed the date of the HVPA meeting and hall working bee to the following Sunday.

We will still have the discussion with Katie Sharp from WREMO about running a couple of Emergency Preparedness workshops in Houghton Valley. The need for being more prepared is getting ever more pressing!

And then we will have a go a cleaning the hall mostly on the outside, but in a few places inside.

Seeds to Feeds Haewai Harvest Dinner

Sunday, March 12, 5.30 – 8.30 pm

This year we will be having an evening meal, but it will still be early enough if you would like to bring your children. The meal will include locally grown and foraged ingredients as well as some from not far away.

Save this date, and we will let you know as soon as the ticketing system has been set up so you can book your place. It will be a wonderful, relaxed meal with lots of friendly people.

If anyone has any rhubarb that they may be able to donate, please contact Jenny at

4C meeting report

Wellington City Council’s Climate Change Advisors gave a great presentation recently about what they are doing in their Climate Change Adaptation Programme.

The programme will involve both mana whenua and local communities in discussing the different areas of concern and different types of hazards. It also acknowledges that climate change will involve more slips, flooding and storm surges as well as eventual sea level rise.

Altogether the group was impressed, the main quibble was how could we accelerate the planning process!

The programme is still in draft stage, and they are happy to incorporate suggestions from communities. Their presentation is attached here.

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Newsletter No. 231

January 26, 2023

Kia ora koutou,

It’s the New Year and the world is starting up again, I hope you can find some time this year to get involved with some of what’s going on here in Houghton Valley. Here is something to whet your appetite ..

Coastal Communities and Climate Change

Sunday 29 January, 3 – 4.30 pm

At this public meeting, Wellington City Council’s Climate Change Advisors will be updating our South Coast Communities on their progress on developing climate change impact assessments and management. Anyone interested is invited, but the meeting is of particular importance to those of you who live close to the coast.

The meeting will be held at the Wellington South Baptist Church Hall, 284 The Parade, Island Bay. More details on the attached invitation.

Hopefully we will get to see progress on the Bloomberg Global Mayors Challenge, where the impact of climate change is being modelled on a digital twin of Wellington City.

Koha Coffee

Come along to the first Koha Coffee of the year and catch up with friends and neighbours. Koha Coffee is still not back to a regular monthly event, but is currently being hosted by people wanting to get together to plan other events as well as a general community catch-up. This time the Seeds-to-Feeds planning group will be hosting, and furthering the plans for our community dinner in March (see below).

If you are interested in hosting a Koha Coffee morning (or more than one) please email and we can work something out.

Houghton Valley Progressive Association Meeting

Sunday 12 February, 1 – 4 pm

The upcoming General Meeting for the HVPA will be in two parts:

Firstly, Katie Sharp from WREMO will talk about running a couple of Emergency Preparedness workshops in Houghton Valley. These include a 1 hour weekday evening session focussing on household preparedness, and a 2 hour weekend afternoon session at Houghton Valley School, familiarising ourselves with what is at our Community Emergency Hub and how to co-ordinate a wider community response, should it be necessary. We can ask Katie questions and discuss the best time for running the workshop, and what else we can do as a community to increase our general resilience.

Secondly, we are going to have a working bee at the hall doing what we can to tick off items on our maintenance list, including washing down the outside, clearing gutters, trimming trees growing close to the hall, cleaning areas inside that are not covered by regular cleaning, replacing light tubes etc. Most of the gardening work has now been done but there are still a few corners that could be worked on if that is what you like doing. Please come along and have a bit of fun caring for our Community Hall, it deserves all the TLC it can get!

We will put out a Facebook Group event invite with more details, otherwise contact And of course, for our members and supporters, there will be the usual email in the week beforehand.

Seeds to Feeds

This year we are planning a dinner at the Community Hall on Sunday, March 12, from 5.30 pm.

Leone, our wonderful cook from last year (and last Spring) is planning more delicious dishes on the theme of Haewai Harvest Festival. So please save the date for another fun community event! The planning team are getting well practised at this (it’s the 4th year now!) but we’d still love other people to join in with preparations, because actually that part is just as much fun … ideas of how you can get involved include:

  • Growing some salad items over the next few weeks, or contributing already growing produce that you will have ready;
  • Getting together to make some fun cushion covers for Op Shop cushions (the hall seats are rather hard);
  • Giving your Christmas icicle lights another airing to liven up the hall lighting;
  • Helping on the day with foraging, preparing the meal or setting up the hall;
  • Recommending a musician to add to the ambiance.

If you can help or have any other ideas, we’d love to hear from you. Contact

Update on the hall

We managed to reach our target of $15,000 for our Givealittle Campaign to raise funds for re-roofing part of our hall. We really appreciate how you all have rallied around to help!

We have kept the campaign open as the reality of building quotes is rather sobering, and much more than we expected. So if you still wanted to donate something, you still can. However, we will be applying for funding as well to make sure we have enough to cover all contingencies and leave enough in the kitty to sort out other things that need fixing.

Playground Progress

The HVPA meeting cum playground design party last December was a great success, with over 25 adults and children coming for a picnic lunch and to contribute to an ideas brainstorm about what is important to us and what is needed in our playground. Adam facilitated, Sarah from Seeds-to-Feeds supplied the fabulous gazebo, HVPA the bread rolls and Grant the foraged salad, with a few extras from the community, including the Tod children’s lemonade stand that raised about $20 and was donated to Seeds-to-Feeds. Ngā mihi everyone for helping make the event so enjoyable!

Tomorrow, a small working group will get together and start on a design brief that incorporates themes of wind and water (and their Māori gods), local plants and wildlife, the history of the place and our buried creek, (which was may have been used as a playground for hundreds of years before it was buried), as well as practical elements such as shade and shelter.

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Newsletter No. 230

November 20, 2022

Playground Design Party

Sunday 11 December, 12 – 3 pm

This is a reminder that the last Houghton Valley Progressive Association meeting for the year is coming up this Sunday. It will be a picnic and playground design discussion at the playground near Hungerford Road.

Playgrounds are renewed every 15 years or so, so here is your chance to make a contribution to a playground design that will influence another generation of children growing up in and visiting the valley.

The submissions for the WCC designs for a new playground didn’t indicate a clear preference for either of the two proposals, and in fact a reasonable proportion didn’t indicate a preference at all. WCC is prepared to commission another design based on a clear consensus from the community that we would like a design that has more of a local identity. The discussion will be centred firstly on whether we do want another design, and secondly to think about what site specific elements we would like to base the new playground experience on. The idea is to come up with a locally appropriate theme rather than discuss the specifics of playground equipment – that will come later.

The programme for the event is:

  • 12.00 pm – gather together, mihi whakatau and discussion introduction
  • 12.45 pm – picnic lunch and discussion
  • 2.00 pm – socialise and play

For the lunch we will provide some bread rolls, relishes and a foraged salad. Please bring some other picnic food to share, your own drinks, cups, plates, utensils, picnic blanket, sun cream etc. Bring whatever you would like in the way of balls or frisbees for afterwards.

Do let us know if you are coming so that we can gauge numbers. RSVP to the email below or on the event on our local Facebook Group. It’s okay if you can only make part of the time, we’d still love to see you and hear your ideas. If you can’t make it at all, please ask for an e-copy via the email address above. You can either email your suggestions or put a printed copy in the Community Hall letterbox at 80 Houghton Bay Road.

If the weather is unmanageable, we will hold the event at the Houghton Valley Hall, at 80 Houghton Bay Road.

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