Newsletter No. 249

April 15, 2024

Action needed to support our Lifting the Creek Project!

The Greater Wellington Regional Council has shown an interest in the remediation of our landfill here in Houghton Valley after a presentation made by members of the community. They asked us to submit support for the project to their Long Term Plan. However, they also said support from other members of the community will go a long way to reinforce the need for something positive to be done. Can you do a submission?

Submissions to the Long Term Plan for GWRC are open until 22 April, so this needs to be done fairly promptly. To help you with what to say, here are some points:

  • Can Greater Wellington Regional Council help the Haewai / Houghton Valley / Houghton Bay community get a solution to our leachate problem?
  • The closed landfill is causing leachate to contaminate Houghton Bay Beach and Taputeranga Marine Reserve, hydrocarbon odours pollute the school and residential areas, and fresh water is being needlessly contaminated.
  • The community has been trying for over a decade to get a solution that is holistic, effective, lasting, creates better amenity and helps regenerate the environment.
  • Lifting the Creek is a community led project and we want the process to be collaborative. Residents and recreational users, Mana Whenua, Wellington City Council, Wellington Water and Greater Wellington Regional Council all have complementary visionary thinking and technical expertise to ensure the best possible solution.
  • Can GWRC help with the funding needed to develop a design that considers the entire water catchment of Haewai / Houghton Valley / Houghton Bay, including overland flows of rain and stormwater, and wetland treatment to filter the water before it enters the Marine Reserve? From this plan the stages of the project can be priced to lock in future funding.
  • WCC are struggling to achieve this project on their own, so GWRC funding to help implement an entire catchment solution will help avoid them taking measures that don’t really solve the problem.
  • This project aligns absolutely with GRWC’s Whaitua aspirations and catchment approach. It aligns with the Environment Group’s Performance Measures of Thriving Environment, Connected Community and Resilient Future. Here is a flagship opportunity to put all these principles into action!

To make a submission go to the GRWC 2024-34 Long Term Plan site. You need to scroll down to the Have Your Say on Other Consultation Topics survey section and fill in there. But while you are there, they would love you to make a submission on their Public Transport and Centreport ownership strategies as well.

Weed and Feed at the Pines

A large group of enthusiastic weeders tackled Cape Ivy up behind The Pines, around from Houghton Bay. Lots of fun was had, lots of weeds were dispatched and some great connections were made between the people there. And of course the posh sit down lunch overlooking the South Coast was a great reward. Definitely worth the prospective repeat next year!

Houghton Valley Progressive Association Update

The HVPA is starting a new year and the AGM is coming up on 19 May. This organisation looks after the Community Hall and supports the great stuff that is going on in Houghton Bay. We really are your Community Association!
By joining the Association, you help us to help the community, and by joining the Committee you can get really involved with what is going on.

For the Committee we are particularly looking for a new Treasurer. The job is pretty straight forward for someone who doesn’t mind numbers. We will be looking this year to really streamline the process, so if anyone has any suggestions for good, simple online accounting programmes we would love to hear from you. We are also looking for other people to be on the committee. There are a range of roles and projects that could be shared around such as: hall bookings; membership, fundraising, history research for our centenary, or whatever interests you that we haven’t mentioned. Just being another voice in decision making would be helpful, but on the other hand, some of these roles can be done without attending committee meetings if your time is limited. If you are interested, or needing some more information, please contact Jenny at

And if all you can do is become a member, that is fine too! Membership is $10 per person per year, from 1 April to 31 March. How to join

(161 recipients, 103 opens)

Newsletter No. 248

April 1, 2024

Welcome to new subscribers and new visitors to the valley – see photo above!

Koha Coffee

Sunday April 7, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm

Koha Coffee has been on the back burner so far this year due to a large number of other things happening. (Same with the newsletters actually …) But we are getting back into the swing of things, starting this Sunday. So come along to the community hall with some kai or a koha and catch up with what’s been happening locally.

Weed and Feed at the Pines

Saturday, April 13, 9.30 am – 1.30 pm

This Te Ohu o Te Raekaihau weeding session will be a special (and hopefully annual) collaboration with the owners of The Pines to celebrate the end of the weeding season and the start of the planting season.

Come along for a morning of weeding a large patch of Cape Ivy followed by a feed provided by The Pines. The programme is:

  • 9.30 am – a discussion on upcoming activities and issues with the Te Ohu o Te Raekaihau group (optional);
  • 10.00 am – weeding session;
  • 12 midday – lunch at The Pines

Meet at the The Pines, which is at 50 The Esplanade. Come up to the top car park behind the chapel. Bring gloves and sturdy shoes. All tools and instructions are provided. In the event of bad weather it will be postponed to Sunday 14th April.

As this is a catered event, please RSVP / sign up via Meetup or send an email to

Seeds-to-Feeds recap

Our fifth Seeds-to-Feeds on 2 March was another great success, they just keep getting better and better!

Many thanks to Leone and helpers for the spectacular food; our old hall for the gorgeous setting; Jacob for the beautiful guitar music; Tina for the awesome mihi and karakia; Daniela Fuenzalida Photography for the gorgeous photos and Sarah and Ange from Seeds-to-Feeds for being so gorgeously upbeat and providing the extra finishing touches. And thanks too for the extra helpers on the day, the community gardeners, home gardeners and sponsors (CommonSense Organics and Kaibosh) for their contributions to the food and of course all the happy guests.

To see more of Daniela’s photos watch our slideshow. Make sure you come next year!

Update on Lifting the Creek

Since our petition presentation to Wellington City Council, we have been waiting to hear whether they did put some money into their Long Term Plan, and whether it could be used for a more sustainable solution such as we have been proposing. The Council in turn have been waiting to hear whether they will be obliged to do something about the situation from a report due at the end of March outlining their obligations under the updated Natural Resources Plan. We don’t know if that will affect their commitment to do something or not.

The next action with WCC will be for us as individuals from Houghton Valley community to ask them again to support our Lifting the Creek project when the formal LTP consultation process starts on April 12th.

However, with some unexpected and totally awesome support for our concept both from a technological and aspirational point of view we recently made a presentation to Greater Wellington Regional Council. They were impressed and encouraged us to submit to their Long Term Plan. We really feel like the current is building!

The main aim is still to get enough funding to create a whole catchment plan, which will then make it easier to establish costs and find extra construction funding over and above what WCC has. The catchment planning process will involve an initial consultation with the wider community and users; the map below is indicative only.

(159 recipients, 111 opens)

Newsletter No. 247

February 21, 2024

The photo above shows students from Houghton Valley School, Te Kura o Haewai, doing research towards their first term project to help design a playground to replace the existing one near Hungerford Road.  Three groups of three classes walked down from the school with the aim of:

  • Exploring the possibilities of creating a better connection between the school playground and the public one, and what might happen in between them;
  • Sitting and absorbing the nature of the space around the play area and exploring its special features, including the stream;
  • Thinking about how a new playground could fit into a vision for the future of the valley;
  • And of course having a hands-on evaluation of the current play equipment!

Members of the community met and talked to the children as well to provide some extra insights into the area and its potential. In the next weeks, the children will focus on artwork to inform the playground design and potentially be incorporated into it, as well as working with a Māori designer to develop the concept.

Seeds to Feeds is here!

Saturday, 2 March 5.30 – 8.30 pm

We hope you are planning to come to another great Seeds to Feeds local food celebration at our community hall. It will again feature yummy vegetarian and vegan food, including:

  • Foraged salad, bread, preserves, dips;
  • Panzanella, vegetable tarts, roast vegetables;
  • Fruit and vegetable-based cakes and desserts;
  • Drinks from the wild South Coast.

You need to book a koha based ticket for the event, these are now available online, please book soon! Ticketing link

As this meal is about local food, we welcome any vegetable contributions you might have ready in the next week. Produce we are looking for includes:

  • Yellow or black tomatoes
  • Capsicums
  • Purple potatoes
  • Courgettes
  • Vegetables that can be roasted
  • Rhubarb
  • Salad items (on the day)

If you have something please contact and we will put you in touch with the cooking team. If you would like to help with setting up and decorating the hall on the Saturday afternoon, please also contact us.

Houghton Valley Progressive Association

The hall had a bit of a spruce up by members last weekend, tidying the paths around the building and doing a bit of work inside. There is always stuff to do on such an old building, but it is worth the effort. Shortly we will be replacing the fluorescent light fittings with LED ones, and our water supply pipe needs to be replaced, having just joined the ranks of the 50% of Wellington’s water leaks actually being on private property.

The vote on the new Constitution for the Association was adjourned as there were several issues brought up that required some careful consideration and adjustment to the document. Several members have contributed valuable insights to make the template-based document work better for our organisation, and we still have plenty of time to do the best job that we can.

(158 recipients, 110 opens)

Newsletter No. 246

February 5, 2024

Kia ora koutou,

It’s probably still okay to say Happy New Year, especially as this is the first newsletter for us. Everything starts ramping up in February, and that of course means January has seen quite a bit in the way of planning. Below is a bit of what has been happening or is about to happen.

Weeding on Te Raekaihau

Saturday, 10 February, 10am – 12 midday

There will be a session weeding the very last remaining controlled sites of Old Man’s Beard, which are about to drop their seed. The weeding will be next to the track and off track. They will provide tools and gloves but please bring your own if you can. Afterwards there will be some kai. If the weather looks dodgy check the FB Event.

Te Ohu o Te Raekaihau will also be having a stall at the Island Bay Festival on 11 February, along with several other conservation and restoration groups from the South Coast. Check out what’s going on and sign up to help over the coming year. Te Ohu o Te Raekaihau

Working bee at the community hall

Sunday, 18 February 

The Houghton Valley progressive Association are having a meeting at 2 pm to vote on their new Constitution, which has had to be rewritten to conform to the new Incorporated Societies Act. Afterward there will be a working bee at the hall, to give both the grounds and the inside a bit of a spruce up. Non members are welcome to come to the working bee, say about 3 pm. We would love to see you!

Seeds to Feeds

Saturday, 2 March 5.30 – 8.30 pm

We are having a Seeds to Feeds local food celebration coming up soon, now for the fifth time. It will be at the community hall, and again will feature yummy vegetarian and vegan food, including our signature forage salad.  The koha based ticketing system will be set up soon, but for now just save the date and more promotion will come soon.

Playground update

Our community led third option design for the Buckley Reserve playground upgrade is finally getting some traction. Houghton Valley School will be using it as a Term 1 project, and the ideas produced will help inform the final design and artworks will be incorporated into the playground itself. A Māori designer will help with the concept to include community suggestions to celebrate Tāwhirimātea (God of Wind) and Tangaroa (God of Water) and local Māori history.

Update on Lifting the Creek

Wellington City Council asked us to present our petition to the Environment and Infrastructure Committee meeting on 1 February. Our aim was to request enough funding to commission an overall plan for the catchment, and to have a say in the choosing of a consultant who would work with us to achieve a solution that would respect and enhance our natural environment.

However, it ended up more complicated than that, as we discovered that Houghton Valley landfill has finally got to the top of the priorities list and that Wellington Water had already proposed a $7 million solution to reline the pipes to keep the stormwater from being contaminated by the landfill leachate. WCC officers have commissioned an independent report to check if this was an appropriate solution to the problem, which is due in March.

So we had to defend our solution as being a better option than the Wellington Water proposal, not so difficult in the end with some helpful advice from a water engineer.

Wellington Water were coming from the standpoint that leachate gets into the pipe during heavy rain and is flushed out to sea. Our standpoint was that if the pipes are sealed the leachate accumulates and follows the bedrock down to the sea anyway.

Deputy Mayor Laurie Foon proposed an amendment at the meeting, for the WCC Officers to:

  • Provide clarification on what the proposal of the pipe fix will do to the accumulating leachate in the landfill;
  • After the commissioned report has been received to report on the level of community engagement required and if there is an ecological option that can be progressed.

The amendment was voted on unanimously, and we have a strong lobby group within the Councillors themselves, so that is encouraging. But what is worrying is that the actual situation is complex and is being overlooked. The leachate appearance is often quite mysterious. One can’t say “Oh it’s raining hard, I will go down and take a photo.” So if any of you overlook the bay or visit it regularly and have seen the really bad leachate, please contact with your observations of when it appeared in relation to rainfall before, during or after, and perhaps the amount of water coming out of the pipes. We might seriously need some evidence from local observation!

(158 recipients, 116 opens)

Newsletter No. 245

November 30, 2023

Koha Coffee

Sunday December 3, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm

Come along to the Houghton Valley Community Hall and chat with friends, neighbours and other locals. It will be an informal celebration of our new hall roof and a nod to the end of the year / upcoming Christmas. Leone is making some yummy food, but you can bring some too, or just a bring a koha.

Update on Lifting the Creek

Our petition has closed now, we managed to get 237 signatures, which was pretty impressive! It wasn’t all locals by a long shot, so our beach and valley are appreciated by a lot of other people as well.

We had a pleasant ramble down the valley for our Creek Walk, exploring the various places that our catchment water makes it appearance, its way, and its disappearance down the valley. As most of us know, at times we had to revert to walking down the road due to swampy parts and steep places, though an intrepid few clambered down a gully formed by rainwater. We were distracted by the great afternoon tea at the playground and never made it as far as the beach.

Here is a link to the handout we made for the walk, in case you really wanted to come, but couldn’t make it.

(158 recipients, 99 opens)

Newsletter No. 244

November 10, 2023

Weeding on Te Raekaihau

Saturday 11 November, 10 am – 12 midday

This weeding session is an easy and interesting one, weeding some of the lightwells created in the karo canopy and seeing how the various combinations of planted / not planted and weeded / not weeded are thriving and how diverse the vegetation is becoming. Monitoring will eventually establish the most efficient way of continuing with restoration on the headland.

Meet at the bottom of Te Awaawa Track at 10 am. Bring tools and gloves if you can, and sturdy shoes for off track scrambling.

Haewai Creek Walk – Reimagining Houghton Valley

Sunday 12 November, 2 – 4 pm

You are invited to come and discover the history of our original valley and its waterways, find out what happened to it all, what is still surviving, and imagine a future that acknowledges our lost landscape and helps heal our environment.

  • Āhea (when): Sunday 12 November, 2 – 4 pm. Rain date 26 November.
  • Kei hea (where): Meet at SInclair Park sports fields at the upper end of the valley.
  • He aha (what): We will walk down the valley discussing / explaining / visualising our project for Lifting the Creek and remediating the problems of our closed landfill. We will finish with a picnic afternoon tea at the playground, with an optional walk on to the beach. Bring good walking shoes, a water bottle, something warm and any sun protection. A few cars will be available to take people back up the hill if needed.

This event is organised by the Houghton Valley Progressive Association in lieu of a meeting. Please RSVP to so we can provide enough afternoon tea …

Our petition is rocking!

Our petition to get the remediation of our landfill / leachate / stormwater remediation project into the Long Term Plan is going really well. Currently at over 190 signatures.

A majority of the signatures are from people outside of the suburb, which shows us how important the place is to visitors. So as a local, if you haven’t signed yet please do, we need to show lots of support from within as well. Open until 27 November, but please sign as soon as possible. [Petition link not valid.]

(158 recipients, 106 opens)

Newsletter No. 243

October 27, 2023

There’s a bit to act on in this newsletter, some fun to be had, and something to celebrate. All things worthy of a cupcake or two (from the Houghton Valley School Fair).

Our petition is live – sign it now!

Our petition to get the remediation of our landfill / leachate / stormwater remediation project into the Long Term Plan is now approved by WCC and is live. We have it open for a month so that it can be reviewed before everything closes down for Christmas. We need at least 20 signatures. Please sign as soon as possible! [Petition link not valid.]

And don’t forget as a follow up to this, the next Houghton Valley Progressive Association meeting will be a Creek Walk, where we walk the length of the valley and share what we know about the existing water ways and pipes and imagine the new natural stormwater system. There will be an afternoon tea at the Buckley Reserve Playground. This is planned for Sunday November 12. A special invite will be sent later, but save the date.

Houghton Valley School Fair tomorrow …

Saturday 28 October, 10 am – 2 pm

Music, crafts, pre-loved clothes, toys, books, plants and other goodies, games and activities, cute furry animals to meet, delicious food stalls including freshly baked treats, curries and Havana coffee!

The event is aiming for zero waste, so please help by bringing your own bags, keep cup, plate, containers etc.

Compassionfest 2023 starts tonight …

And we have a new roof!

After a long and winding road, we are there … hooray!

(158 recipients, 112 opens)

Newsletter No. 242

October 15, 2023

The photo above is the community hall during its re-roof of the old asbestos containing malthoid membrane flat roof. Work is almost done and the wrap and scaffolding should be coming down this week. A sneak preview inside shows what should be a very fine looking new roof. Can’t wait to see it properly!

Houghton Valley School Fair

Saturday 28 October, 10 am – 2 pm

Come to Houghton Valley School for a great day out. There will be live music, crafts, pre-loved clothes, toys, books, plants and other goodies, games and activities, cute furry animals to meet, delicious food stalls including freshly baked treats, curries and Havana coffee!

The event is aiming for zero waste, so please help by bringing your own bags, keep cup, plate, containers etc.

If you have plants for the plant stall, bring them along between 9 and 10 am. Please no karo seedlings (we have enough in the valley) and no pot plant tradescantia (it reverts and spread when thrown out into the garden).

Compassionfest 2023

 The life of Kae Miller, who built the Alice Kreb’s Lodge on Te Raekaihau, is being celebrated on October 27-29 as part of this year’s Compassionfest, organised by the Island Bay Presbyterian Centre at 88 The Parade. The festival features music, activities, an afternoon at the Lodge and a panel discussion. See more in the attached press release.

Update on Te Mauri o Te Wai – Lifting the Creek

We have been persuaded by Yadana Saw of Wellington Regional Council that it is worth a try a petition to WCC about getting our landfill / leachate / stormwater remediation project into the Long Term Plan after all. Although is is fairly evident that the Council is hard pressed to find enough money for the basics, it is still important to get our message out there, and in the meantime we will just keep going with whatever we can do.We will send out a link to the petition once it is set up and approved by WCC. In the meantime we have put together a lot of the background information on what we have done regarding this project over the last decade. This is now on our website. It is important that we actually show how much we have done and know.
Also, we have put together a document with the workshop suggestions and those from earlier, as a start towards creating a brief.

As a follow up to this, the next Houghton Valley Progressive Association meeting will be a Creek Walk, where we walk the length of the valley and share what we know about the existing water ways and pipes and imagine the new natural stormw

ater system. There will be an afternoon tea at the Buckley Reserve Playground. This is planned for Sunday November 12. More information later, but save the date.

(159 recipients, 117 opens)

Newsletter No. 241

September 7, 2023

The photos above show the Houghton Valley community garden being formed back in 2010, and one of the many afternoon teas we had after a working session, where we also plotted and planned many community activities. Although the afternoon teas there are not so regular now, many community activities still get plotted and planned elsewhere.

Afternoon tea in the community garden

Sunday 10 September, 2 – 3.30 pm: Now that spring seems to be on its way, we are planning to have Koha Coffee in the community garden this month. As the garden is best in the afternoon, we will be having it at 2 pm.

So come along for some great food and conversation and see the garden as it is now. We can also help you plan your summer vegetable garden. If you’d like to do a bit of garden maintenance, come a bit earlier, someone will be there from 1 pm, there is alway plenty to do! If it is wet we will retreat to the Community Hall. For how to get to the garden go to:…/garden-how-to-get-there…

Te Mauri O Te Wai  workshop

The workshop on 27 August went well with 14 residents attending, as well as 2 guests: Julie Anne Genter of the Green Party and Yadana Saw of Greater Wellington Regional Council.

Whilst the workshop was primarily intended to be about putting together all our ideas with the aim of creating a brief for the project, in the end we spent more time discussing how we can get the project actually going again.

Julie Anne said that if the Green Party get into government, they will specifically set aside $100 million for projects such as ours, estimating that ours would be about $10 million. There was a possibility of getting a mention in an article in The Post about this policy, but if it was published it wasn’t obvious.

Yadana suggested we contact our Ward Councillors and ask them to put the project into the Long Term Plan, and that WCC had a “Petition” system that forced the Council to look at any approved request with over 20 signatures.

In following up with WCC, Cr Tim Brown said that they had been discussing the project but it sounded like they were nowhere near ready to commit money to it. Hence our original plan of working through the preliminary design solutions to create a workable solution for them, rather than waiting, is more relevant than ever. The petition system (according to a WCC staff member) is greatly disliked, and when you think about it, forcing their hand will only result in an unsatisfactory quick fix such as the “deodourising” of our drains.

We are still putting together all the notes from the workshop and earlier suggestions and will share them when it is done. It will form the basis for our design brief, which we can then use to facilitate the next steps. The workshop resulted in other suggestions such as engineers that have a “give back” system where they give time to communities without charge, and some good skills and connections within the community that we can utilise.

Extension of no-parking zone in Hungerford Rd

WCC has been asked to consider extending the no-parking zone at the top of Hungerford Road on the Houghton Bay side to improve safety in this rather limited visibility area. They have a draft report that you can make a submission on between September 8 and September 21, 2023. The report will be presented to the Koata Hātepe / Regulatory Processes Committee meeting on Thursday 16th November, 2023 for approval and the restrictions will be implemented within the following three months once approved.

(158 recipients, 110 opens)

Newsletter No. 240

August 25, 2023

Te Mauri O Te Wai in Houghton Valley/Haewai

Sunday 27 August , 2 – 4 pm at the Houghton Valley Community Hall: The next Houghton Valley Progressive Association meeting is not a meeting but a workshop, and we are bringing the focus back on our Lifting the Creek Project. 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.

Come along with your interest and/or ideas for how we can solve our spring water, storm water and leachate problems (and anything else) so we can go on to develop a plan for the valley that will respect our natural environment and waterways, have better amenities and provide more local food. We will then look at ways of achieving at least parts of the plan. We have created a document with some background and ideas that have been suggested over the last 10 years, but we would like your input to further develop the brief. If you are able to let us know if you are coming that would be awesome, but no worries if you make a last minute decision! If you can’t make it but would like to contribute, please email Jenny and we can send you the workshop handout. Email contact:

Hall update

Our long journey to find the right contractor and enough funds has finally resulted in a contract being signed with Rod Burke of Esterno Ltd, a builder and waterproofing membrane specialist, who will undertake the work in the upcoming school holidays.The area will be scaffold wrapped to ensure the work can be done mostly within the holiday period and to provide some extra protection during the asbestos removal (the plastic wrap gets recycled). 

Houghton Terrace Walkway

Closure is appreciated on our hall roof damage and repair saga, closure of our walkway not so appreciated. Opened June 2023, closed August 2023.

(159 recipients, 110 opens)