Houghton Valley Progressive Association

The Houghton Valley Progressive Association (HVPA) is our local Residents’ Association. It supports the community by:

  • Providing updates of what has been happening in and around the community and notifications of wider community issues;
  • 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;
  • Providing funding support for approved local projects;
  • Giving you the right to have your say and vote on community issues at General Meetings and elections at Annual General Meetings.

Membership is $10 per person and the membership year starts on 1 April. For membership we need your name, street address and email address.

To become a member contact: admin@houghtonvalley.org.nz

Hall bookings: admin@houghtonvalley.org.nz

Short history of the HVPA

The first HVPA minute book

In the 1920s Houghton Bay residents were concerned about the backward condition of the district and in 1925 formed the South Melrose ratepayers and Residents’ Association to address issues of bus services, milk supply, electric light, extension of water supply and telephone services. Owing to continued confusion with Melrose, the Association was renamed in 1926 to Houghton Valley Progressive Association, using the word “Valley” to reflect the greater settlement inland rather than at Houghton Bay itself. After one year, 30 new houses had been built, there was a milk delivery, and drainage and electric light installation was progressing. The Houghton Valley Progressive Association was incorporated in 1928. Campaigning for better facilities and services continued through the 1930s.

In 1927 Wilhelmina Williamson donated land in Houghton Bay Road for the building of a community hall and tennis courts, which were mostly built by locals. The hall was opened in 1929 and was initially used as a school until Houghton Valley School was built and opened in 1930. For three decades the hall was the focus of the community: hosting meetings, dances and concerts, a friendship club, darts and table tennis evenings, a Temperance Society, church services, scouts and girl guides. The local Playcentre began using it in 1953.

Houghton Valley Community Hall, early 1930s

From the 1960s the hall was used less and less except for the Playcentre. It reached such a state of disrepair in the 1990s that it was nearly sold, until it was pointed out that the land and hall belonged to the community and could not be sold. The Playcentre had to find a new home due to the state of the building and the tennis court land was granted to them to build their own building. After some repair work the hall was mainly used as a dance studio. This generated enough income to keep the place maintained, with the Association primarily focussed on looking after it.

Over the last decade the Houghton Valley Progressive Association has been gradually “progressing” towards becoming a full community organisation once more, advocating on community issues as well as promoting community events and activities in the hall and around the local area.

More about Houghton Valley Progressive Association

Kae Miller Trust

Kae Miller outside the Alice Krebs Lodge shortly after its opening in 1985

Te Raekaihau is one of our local reserves and is a special place to visit. It has a rich history of people who were inspired to look after it, including the passionate environmentalist, Kae Miller. In 1981, the area was pretty neglected and Kae Miller adopted it 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. When Kae left in 1990 to live in a home, other caretakers looked after and hired out the Lodge for short stays. The Kae Miller Trust was formed in 2007 to honour and continue Kae’s vision, planting trees and looking after the lodge. The Alice Krebs Lodge is now use as a retreat for those seeking quiet contemplation or spiritual practice.

To book the lodge contact: kmt@houghtonvalley.org.nz

More information:

Detailed History of Alice Krebs Lodge

Kae Miller’s incredible life

Houghton Valley School

Te kura o Haewai / Houghton Valley School

Te kura o Haewai / Houghton Valley School is a large part of the Houghton Valley community. Being a small school in a large natural environment, it has a reputation for a country feel and the students enjoy many outdoor as well as indoor activities. The annual fair makes the most of this country feel with pony rides and field activities as well as great music, food and stalls.

Email address: admin@houghton.school.nz

Te Kura o Haewai / Houghton Valley School Website

Te Kura o Haewai / Houghton Valley School Facebook Page

Early history of Houghton Valley School

Before 1929, children in Houghton Valley attended Lyall Bay School. Then, when the community hall was built, it was rented to the Education Department for use as a school. In March 1930, the Minister of Education approved a grant to build a new school on a spur of land below Houghton Bay Road but above the deep valley. The first classroom block of Houghton Bay School (later renamed Houghton Valley School) was finished in 1931.  Jean Park was the first headmistress and served from 1931 until her retirement in 1944.

The stream below the school was piped and the gully filled to create a playing field. This was prior to the rest of the valley being used for landfill, which started in 1949.

Houghton Valley School in 1949
Houghton Valley School in 1979

Houghton Valley Playcentre

Houghton Valley Playcentre

Houghton Valley Playcentre is tucked below Houghton Bay Road, up from the school and next to the Community Hall. They have five morning sessions a week, including a Te Reo Māori session on Tuesday and Thursday mornings where parents stay and learn alongside their tamariki.

Email address: hvplaycentre@gmail.com

Houghton Valley Playcentre Website

Houghton Valley Playcentre Facebook Page

History of Houghton Valley Playcentre

Houghton Valley Playcentre has been going since 1953 and was first housed in the Houghton Valley Community Hall. Over the years the condition of the hall deteriorated, and despite some renovations the conditions were still not up to Playcentre standards. In 1996 the Playcentre’s licence was suspended mainly due to flaking lead paint on the outside walls of the hall. They had to shift operation to the Miramar Playcentre while they looked for a site on which to build a new building.

After trouble finding a suitable site, the Houghton Valley Progressive Association, who owned the hall, granted them the use of the playground area just below the hall (the old tennis courts) to build something on. With $200,000 from the Ministry of Education, Central Regional Works, the Wellington Playcentre Association and their own fundraising they built their own building, which is still going strong today.

The Playcentre’s main fundraiser to help pay off the loan and maintain their property has been through their annual “Great Debate” at the Pines: a fun and slightly tongue-in-cheek debate with both comedians and politicians. Annette King helped initiate it and participated in it for 20 years.

The moot for the 2019 Great Debate

Houghton Valley Community Garden

Bounty from the garden over the years

The Houghton Valley Community Garden is a small plot on the back of a Housing NZ section and sits between the School and regenerating bush. The are several beds, which are communally managed and harvested. The general philosophy is come and help and then share in the day’s harvest. Currently work is done when people can make it rather than a particular time, the group communicates through WhatsApp.

To help in the gardens contact: communitygarden@houghtonvalley.org.nz

History of the Community Gardens

Clearing the blackberry

Dave the school caretaker wanted to start a community garden and got permission to use the back part of a section next to the school, which belonged to Housing NZ. So in August 2010 Dave and 3 locals met on the section and began clearing the 2 metre high blackberry. Over many Sunday afternoon sessions, plots were established one by one, and then paths were created (the path through the middle of the garden was created so kids could walk through the garden on their way to school). John, an ex-chemist, built bins for compost. A small sit down area was created but later a larger one had to be created because of the increasing number of locals coming to join the gardeners for afternoon tea. Many Houghton Valley activities were hatched and planned during the afternoon teas.

Afternoon tea on the camomile lawn

A small gardeners email group was started so messages about working bees and other information could be communicated. This proved to be very popular and the emails soon morphed into a community newsletter. Within a year, over a 100 people had joined.

How to get to the garden

Te Kawakawa Commons

Entry path, seating area and vegetable garden at Te Kawakawa Commons

Te Kawakawa Commons is a community garden in Hornsey Road, up behind the bus stop near No 44, which is part of the Mt. Albert Reserve. Before 2012 it was a blackberry covered gully. Local residents cleared the area and planted fruit trees and made a seating place and vegetable garden. They also planted natives and made tracks through the neighbouring forest.

Over the years the garden has hosted working bees, community gatherings and art exhibitions. The forest has grown and the garden is now a sheltered and peaceful retreat, complete with its own black Pīwakawaka.

To help in the gardens contact: tekawakawa@houghtonvalley.org.nz

Te Ohu o Te Raekaihau

Te Raekaihau from the west

Te Raekaihau (the headland that eats the wind) is a 21.6 ha reserve on Wellington’s South Coast, incorporating the headland dividing Lyall Bay from Houghton Bay, and overlooking Cook Strait.  It includes Te Raekaihau Point and runs back to View Road South, just before Hungerford Road.  Some of the fringes are privately owned, but the majority of the headland is owned by the Wellington City Council.

For a long time the place was a little known treasure with slowly regenerating bush and stunning views over Cook Strait. Over the last 50 years several individuals and groups have helped care for the headland, including making tracks and replanting the land with endemic forest cover.

Te Ohu o Te Raekaihau is the most recent of restoration groups and is laying the foundation for more permanent kaitiakitanga. They are currently planting 2,000 trees every year over the winter months to diversify the vegetation amongst the monoculture of native karo. The rest of the year is spent culling invasive weeds and generally caring for the forest, the wildlife and the tracks in collaboration with the Council.

Email address: teraekaihau@gmail.com

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