The reserve adjoins the Four Brothers Scenic Reserve (and the Karamu Walkway), midway between Hamilton and Raglan on SH23. The entrance is on Old Mountain Road (approximately 826 Old Mountain Road), Waitetuna.
Purchased in 2014, this 460ha Reserve is named in recognition of Sir Edmund Hillary, Patron of the Native Forest Restoration Trust from 1980 to 2008, inspiring our nation for more than half a century and honouring his love for the natural environment.
The Hope family that owned this and other properties in the area is also recognised in the Reserve name, having made a significant contribution to the conservation of native forest and fauna on this Reserve and in the Waikato region.
The reserve is part of the Hamilton “Halo Project” which aims to bring native birds such as tūī and korimako (bellbird) back into Hamilton City, this Reserve supports those and many other native bush birds. The “Halo” is a 20km radius ring drawn around Hamilton, taking in key sites where tūī breed. This is how far tūī will fly to feed.
Forming part of the upper catchment of the Mangakirikiri Stream, restoring forest cover to the steep, erosion prone land in this Reserve will prevent erosion and siltation affecting the water quality of Raglan Harbour. In turn this will improve habitat for our native eels, whitebait, other Galaxias species, and many other harbour dwelling fish.
Removal of stock and goats has helped eliminate forest understorey browse and trampling and increased seedling survival. Possum, rat and mustelid control has already reduced their adverse effect on birdlife, invertebrates and the quantity of seeds available for regeneration. Areas of retired farmland are being planted with the help of volunteers.
Trust supporters and Waikato Regional Council enabled this purchase.
Flora and Fauna
In the past, timber was extracted from the forest and pasture created. Now diverse regeneration, dominated by tawa, tōtara, tānekaha, rimu, rewarewa, kohekohe and kāmahi is taking place, with kānuka and shrubs naturally recolonising retired grassland. On stream margins, kahikatea and pukatea the lovers of wet ground, form above-ground buttressed and fluted roots for stability.
Kererū or New Zealand pigeon congregate here in large numbers in late summer to feed on the fruit of tawa and miro. Kereru are important dispersers of these large, hard seeds. Tūī and korimako take nectar and insects from the numerous flowering scarlet and pink rātā vines and smaller fruit from other native trees and shrubs. Pīwakawaka (fantail) and riroriro (grey warbler) are numerous throughout mature and regenerating forest areas.
The small and endangered pekapeka-tou-roa (New Zealand long tailed bat) that roosts in tree cavities and emerges at dusk to feed, may also be present.
Walking Tracks & Facilities
The Karamu Walkway runs through the Department of Conservation Four Brothers’ Reserve along the eastern boundary. Several other tracks are also under development, beginning at the main entrance off Old Mountain Road. Tracks are clearly signed and easy to follow from the carpark for a certain distance. New track markers are progressively being installed on tracks that venture further into the reserve. There is a small car park and picnic area at the main entrance and a toilet through the entrance gate towards the track start.
Please keep to the tracks as strictly as possible to avoid trampling vegetation or getting lost. Take reasonable care. Some bits of track can be slippery after rain and some sections are steep. Everyone is welcome to visit our reserves, at your own risk. Some hazards inevitably exist in such steep wild terrain. Before you go into the outdoors, tell someone your plans and leave a date to raise the alarm if you haven’t returned.
No dogs are allowed in this wildlife reserve.
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