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History of the Hayward Scenic Reserve

 

The Reserve was originally private property owned by the late H M Hayward. Hayward is now recognised as one of the Hutt Valley's very early conservationists. He noted that erosion and topsoil fertility failure soon followed the then widely followed practice of clear-felling and burning of the native bush cover on the valley's eastern hills, and decided not to adopt this practice on all of his land. He was apparently unpopular in some quarters after publicly warning that pastoral farming of these unstable slopes, using the slash and burn technique, was unsustainable and would give rise to serious erosion problems. Over the years an extensive network of interconnecting tracks was cut by Mr Hayward's farm hands, from his homestead at the top of Tyndall Street, to give access to the more scenic parts of his property and lookout points.

 

The bush covered hillside part of the Hayward property was gifted to the Crown in 1938 and shortly afterwards was gazetted as a Scenic Reserve, administered by the Lands & Survey Department until 1957. In 1952 the Lower Hutt City Council was approached about taking over control and maintenance. The land was finally vested in the Council in June 1958.

In 1946 Mr O. Dryden was appointed Honorary Inspector, a position renamed Honorary Ranger in 1955 under the Reserves and Domains Act of 1953. Mr Dryden was actively involved with the protection and maintenance of the Reserve over a period of many years. In 1970 he compiled a brief history of the Reserve, and it is from his notes that most of this historical information has been derived. The former All Black winger, Mr Ron Jarden was also an appointed Honorary Ranger from 1970 until his death.

 

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