Newsletter No. 208

December 2, 2021

Last Koha Coffee for the year

Sunday December 5, 10.30 am – 12.30 pm

Koha Coffee this month is this Sunday at the Community Hall. Katy is hosting. Come along to chat and if you wish, bring food offerings to share. Being December, Koha Coffee will have a Christmas theme.

Community catch-up will include people from the Seeds-to-feeds fruit tree walking bee coming along after discovering and tending our local wild fruit trees. Sarah, the Seeds-to-Feeds coordinator for this year will also be bringing some seeds to share. And of course you can bring your own creative community ideas to share and discuss. Or just chat …

Please remember to scan in and wear masks when moving about.

Wild 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 thetrees. If you have any old newspapers, bring some too, to help keep the weeds around the trees under control. For record keeping purposes, please RSVP to

We have just collected some seaweed to help feed the fruit trees!

Art in the enchanted rain

Just before people were due to arrive at Te Kawakawa Commons for the Enchanted Art in a Garden exhibition it started drizzling. Despite the wet many people still came to enjoy the garden and take away some beautiful art work. A big thank you to you all!
Some of the artists were more prepared than others for the wet and looking after their work, others unfortunately had to pack up early.

However it is planned to run again next year in the sunshine!

Another valley resident

California quail are also resident in our valley, and you can hear them calling in the swampy areas near the Hungerford Road playground. The male’s distinctive 3-note call can be described as Chi-ca-go, but is more accurately rendered as “qua-quer-go”

California quail are not native, but were first released in 1862 as game birds. You can find out more information about them at nzbirds online This is where the photo comes from.

Male California quail call

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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

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

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

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 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


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.

(153 recipients, 88 opens)

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.

(153 recipients, 92 opens)