Putting spare time to good use
Reserves and community greenspaces are in abundance here in Hurunui, and it’s thanks to the dedication of our great Reserve volunteers and our specialist contractors that these valuable havens remain in tip top shape.
David Anderson and his team of volunteers makes up part of this tapestry.
He started playing cricket at Cheviot Hills more than 50 years ago, a place he considers so special.
Most of the grounds’ work has always been done by volunteers, since the 1950’s.
When he retired from sheep and beef farming, he decided it was time to lend a hand, and started organising working bees, and three years ago became chairman of the Cheviot Reserves Advisory Group.
There are 15 Reserves around Cheviot and they collectively make up 127 hectares and include Cheviot Hills Reserve, St Anne’s Lagoon Reserve, the Cheviot Specimen Plantation Reserve, and the reserves which house the rugby, bowling, and cricket clubs, and part of the A&P Grounds.
Gore Bay and Spotswood have their own Advisory groups.
Reserve volunteer work within Cheviot Reserves Advisory Group involves 15 to 20 volunteers, and includes clearing broken trees and branches, spraying weeds, looking after roads and tracks, maintaining fences, and planting and maintenance of trees and flowers.
“If I have a job that needs two or three people, we send a team to the job straight after lunch, then we have a cup of tea, which is just as important. We are very lucky to receive great support from local businesses who have donated their time and resources.”
All reserves are grazed to some degree to keep the weeds down and lessen the fire danger.
“I have enjoyed my time working in the Reserves. The latest addition is a mountain bike and walking track in the Specimen Reserve, which is getting good use.”
David says the great thing about a small community like Cheviot is having a good bit of networking and knowing what’s going on.
“I’ve been here all my life, I know a lot of people, so I’m often asking people for feedback about what they’d like.”
He encourages anyone to get involved in volunteering, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be in the Reserves areas.
“I have a bit of a passion for landscaping and trees, so I was quite happy to use my interest in reserves. But do whatever your passion is in, this may include St Johns, Fire Brigade, or just whatever you enjoy.”
George Richards and John Hearne have been some of David’s right-hand-men for a couple of years now.
Down at St Anne’s Lagoon doing some silviculture on the Redwood trees, John’s pretty good on the chainsaw, while George is described as the number one spotter.
“I like adding to the community, and we have such beautiful places to look after,” said John.
Cheviot Hills Reserve is his favourite spot.
George agrees with John that it’s a great community initiative.
“It’s good to be doing something so useful,” he says, adding that working with trees across all the Reserves is a favourite for him.
David says the original exotic tree plantings were done about 110 years ago, by John Rentoul, a chemist who lived in Cheviot.
“A lot of people don’t realise this place is here. It’s a nice place for a break for a road trip.”
L-R: George, John and David at St Anne’s Lagoon doing some silviculture on the Redwood trees.