The Puketi Mokau Reserve is 320 ha adjoining the northern boundary of Puketi Forest approximately 25 km west of Kerikeri. It slopes northwards down from the Mokau Ridge.
The reserve was purchased in 1987 and is a valuable extension to the neighbouring forests. It was last logged in the 1920s and has since been allowed to regenerate. It was the enthusiasm of the late Shirley Guildford, a founding Trustee of the Native Forest Restoration Trust, which led to the purchase of this block.
The canopy is dense over most of the Reserve except along the ridges and old logging roads. There are scattered kauri, totara and rimu of reasonable height. Taraire and towai are dominant canopy trees with tawa, tanekaha, kohekohe, pukatea, kawaka and a few rata. Manuka and kanuka are on the less regenerated ridges with emergent towai and rewarewa. The forest is rich with epiphytic lilies, orchids, ferns, kiekie, nikau, wheki and mamaku.
There is a diverse range of species including the North Island brown kiwi, kukupa, tui, grey warbler, fantail and pied tit. Also present are the kauri snail and the giant bush worm.
At the time of acquisition a Department of Conservation report described the reserve as ‘outstanding’. It is an important extension of the Puketi-Omahuta forests, providing a buffer zone in the north and increasing the chances of survival of some of our larger and more threatened forest birds. Puketi and Omahuta also contain some of our most spectacular kauri forest and associated unique flora.
The reserve is open to the public. 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. Entry is at your own risk.
Pest control is done in association with the Department of Conservation, as the area comes within their management zone. However, due to the high numbers of possums, cyanide is also used to target possums periodically through the year. Mustelid trapping is undertaken to protect the resident kiwi population.
Weeds are a problem in all Northland forests. Mistflower is prevalent and has been subject to a trial of a fungus that specifically targets it, with encouraging results.
How to Get There
Puketi Forest can be approached from Okaihau in the south, Kaeo in the north and Kerikeri in the east. The reserve is 5 km along an old forestry road which branches off Waiare Rd about 30m north of the Kauri Dam walk. The forestry road has had locked gates installed. If you wish to visit the reserve please contact the honorary ranger, Dan O’Halloran, (09) 405 0892 (evenings) or email@example.com