Posted on 26th May, 2017

The property has approximately three kilometres of coastal frontage including the spectacular Taurawhata headland

Tawapou was originally created as a three hundred acre farm for a returning World War One solider. However poor soil, an unreliable rainfall and Tawapou's small acreage have always made conventional farming difficult. For fifty of the one hundred years since it was created, Tawapou has been supported and protected by Dr. Katharine Bowden (and her late husband Dr. Bernard Bowden) and their family. Now, for many kilometres in either direction, farm land has been extensively subdivided.

In 2015 an agreement was reached with the WDC to preserve 94% of the property in a single title with a complete ban on further subdivision. In 2016 this protection was strengthened further with a Queen Elizabeth 11 Open Space Covenant. Creating the Open Space Covenant was an important part of ensuring the protection and enhancement of this unique piece of coastal land in perpetuity.

The property has approximately three kilometres of coastal frontage including the spectacular Taurawhata headland (the closest point on the mainland to the Poor Knights Islands). Tawapou features some of the district's largest remnant pohutukawa and coastal lowland broadleaf forest. Over the past forty years the family has undertaken pest control and over the past few years, this has been intensified greatly. This pest control has allowed the property to accommodate three kiwi releases last year with hopefully more kiwi releases to come in the very near future.

Oi or Grey-faced Petrel

In September last year, while out collecting coastal manuka seed on the cliffs of Taurawhata, bird burrows were discovered. A night vision camera was installed and footage revealed the return to the mainland of Oi or Grey Faced Petrels. Successful predator control ensured that the last of the fledgling chicks left these burrows in late January early February. These young birds will fly to the east coast of Australia and return home to breed on Taurawhata in a few years time. This could quite possibly be the first time in eighty odd years that Oi (Grey-Faced Petrels) have successfully bred on mainland Northland.
It is the family’s vision to return Tawapou to its natural state of coastal forest and this year we have prepared Taurawhata headland for the planting of 6500 trees. These trees include flax, Karo, five finger, tree daisy, pohutukawa, tawapou and other pioneering species .

The 6500 plants went in the ground in just under three hours, the headland was transformed by approximately one hundred keen volunteers.

Guy Bowden

On Saturday 24th June the family held their annual planting day on Taurawhata and invited friends and volunteers to join.

We were overwhelmed by the response, we had close to one hundred keen people give up their time on a cold, wet Saturday morning to help plant. The headland was transformed in approx three hours then we all returned to the woolshed and warmed up with amazing hot soup and other beautiful food also prepared by volunteers and family. A huge thank you to all who participated in the is amazing event, you have all helped make our dream come true. :)

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Darcy digging as Sandra plants
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You wouldn't want to look down too often!