The Basil Hewett Reserve is in the Western King Country, between Te Kuiti and Awakino . It is 360 ha of mature hill country forest bordering the upper Awakino River, with the Mahoenui Scenic Reserve to the south and privately owned forest to the north.
A substantial bequest by the late Basil Hewett, a generous supporter of the Trust, enabled us to purchase this reserve at a time when we had many other financial committments.
The forest type is predominantly mixed podocarp/hardwood forest with some unlogged areas on the Awakino River side. The rest has very few emergent tree species and there are signs of extensive stock and goat browsing. Canopy species include tawa, hinau, miro and pukatea, with a few rimu and northern rata.
There are small populations of whitehead and bellbird.
The most outstanding feature of the block is the representation of unlogged primary podocarp/hardwood forest on the lower western slopes. It is very uncommon to find this forest type at relatively low altitudes within the ecological region. It extends the existing Mahoenui Scenic Reserve. The stand provides important seasonal habitat for native birdlife, and the upper Awakino River has good trout fishing.
The reserve is highly visible and scenically attractive. It also sets an example to other local land owners with notable but unprotected bush.
Goats, deer, possums and mustelids are present. Recovery of the upper and eastern parts of the reserve is occurring now that stock is excluded.
How to Get There
Turn off SH 3 at Mahoenui, north into Gribbon Rd. About 9 km up this road there is a reserve sign on the right hand side. The reserve is across the river. You may find the best access is one or two kilometres further north. Entry is at your own risk.