Mahoe-nui Bush Restoration Project, Evans Pass



Mahoe-nui Bush is a patch of remnant forest located in one of the gullies above Sumner valley, in the Port Hills. The North Canterbury Branch and the Sumner Environment Group are helping the City Council with the restoration of this lovely site, including native plantings, plant care & pest control.

This gully in Greenwood Park is about 1km along the Summit Road west of Evans Pass, with superb views out overlooking Godley Head and into Lyttelton Harbour. For all you mountainbikers out there, the gully is just below the Greenwood Park mountainbike track. It extends both above and below the Summit Road. It has a magnificent stand of trees which have survived forest clearance on the Port Hills. The area was fenced in 2006 to exclude sheep grazing, and since then, the Christchurch City Council Rangers have planted thousands of eco-sourced native plants to enhance and protect this small stand.  Ongoing maintenance and infill planting is required to restore this remnant forest to its former glory. Forest and Bird and the Sumner Environment Group have joined forces to help achieve this goal.

Despite its small size, there is a diverse mix of species - including a small copse of manuka, and quite a few mature trees including milk tree (Streblus heterophyllus), myrtle (Lophomyrtus obcordata), kōwhai, ngaio, lacebark and native passion vine among other delights.

Long term goal
The long term plan is to plant all the major gullies on the Port Hills from mountain to sea, and connect these forest corridors with forest remnants on the Lyttelton Harbour side of the ridge.

In the eastern Port Hills, native plantings along stream margins of grazed land will improve water quality by keeping stock out of the waterways and reducing sediment yield. They will also create vegetated corridors for native forest succession, provide seed source for regeneration into adjacent scrub, and/or reduce erosion or rock-fall risk. The forested corridors will provide habitat, food and shelter for native birds, invertebrates and lizards, and preserve and enhance the biodiversity in this part of the Port Hills.
Fenced off areas of remnant forest will be planted to protect and enhance remnant trees. Species that establish easily will be planted initially, then once shelter is established a diverse range of species will be planted to provide the array of species that would occur naturally in this area for natural succession into adjacent areas of flax, kanuka, gorse or broom over time. In areas that aren't fenced, flaxes can be planted initially to get established in the stream beds, with other species planted over time.

How you can help
Mahoe-nui needs you. The existing native plantings are in need of some tender loving care as they get choked by grass and other vegetation, and many of the protective cages have been knocked over or displaced. The City Council supplies eco-sourced native plants to fill in the gaps between the existing natives, and we need volunteers to get these plants in the ground and to maintain them. The planting days are organised by Di Carter, the City Council Park Ranger for this area.
We are also charged with monitoring a number of possum traps, including resetting and rebaiting traps with lure, counting the number of possums killed, and replacing the gas cartridges where required in the self-setting traps.
It's a spectacular site and is a really rewarding project to be involved in. We are especially keen to get local people involvedin this project on their doorstep.

Contact Information
Vanessa (, 021 0255 6918) Forest and Bird North Canterbury 
Peter Hansen (, 326 6831, 021 0235 4473) Sumner Environment Group.

Location of Mahoe-nui Bush
To get to Mahoe-nui Bush Upper Site, head up to Evans Pass (the road at the back of Sumner Valley), at the top of Evans Pass, turn right and in 900m you will come to Mahoe-nui Bush on the left. The site is fenced and you will see the native plantings up the gully. There is only space for a few cars at the site so please carpool.
To get to the Lower Site, go up Evans Pass Road until you get to the first big hairpin bend next to Rapanui Bush. Park in the layby on the left. The Lower site is up the gully right on the hairpin corner.

For instructions and maps on how to get to the site, please click here.