Watts Peninsula

November 2nd, 2011 at 9:00 am by David Farrar

announced:

Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Chris Finlayson today announced the establishment of a 76 hectare reserve for the people of and New Zealand on the iconic Miramar Peninsula.

The new reserve area, known as Watts Peninsula, is a prominent Wellington landmark at the northern tip of the Miramar Peninsula and a historically significant part of New Zealand. …

The land is currently owned by the Defence Force and is home to a number of historic military gun emplacements, pa sites and former ammunition magazines.

Work is under way to develop the land as a public reserve.

Reserve status will retain the land in public ownership and also ensure the area receives full heritage protection, Mr Finlayson said.

In addition it will enable the preservation of indigenous flora and fauna, such as native orchids, skinks and little blue penguins.

This is a great decision. I am probably one of the most frequent visitors to Watts Peninsula. Used to camp next to it, and have spent many a day exploring it.

The area has a lot of historic gun and battery emplacements. Most of them are in the open, but there are some hidden ones also. In the pine forest, there is one old battery which is very hard to locate. The entrance is a fairly narrow steep hole in a bank, but then it opens up to various rooms and tunnels down below. I’ve even slept overnight in it.

This area is above and near the Massey Memorial. It provides some of the best views of Wellington Harbour. I’m really pleased to see it made into a reserve. It is one of our better hidden secrets, and it will be cool if more people over time get to enjoy it.

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9 Responses to “Watts Peninsula”

  1. ben (2,396 comments) says:

    Great. Because what New Zealand doesn’t have is enough reserves and national parks and open spaces.

    Another couple of hundred million dollars of value destroyed. Thanks Chris.

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  2. thomasbeagle (78 comments) says:

    This photo is a shot of the location of the buried Kau Point battery, with the geotag set to (as close as possible) the exact location.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/kawau/2444326797/

    There’s a few other photos there too.

    (Why yes, I’m a fan of the gun emplacements too. :)

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  3. Scott Chris (5,868 comments) says:

    I’m with Ben on this one. What a white elephant. It makes no sense to create large reserves in close proximity to urban settlement with all the associated vermin, for the sake of a few dog walkers and nostalgics. I’m more in favour of setting aside meaningful tracts of natural habitat in more appropriate regions. Doesn’t mean you can’t have interconnected historical islands within a thoughtfully planned urban development.

    Oops, actually it does make sense, if you want to control the supply of land, and thus keep upward pressure on already inflated property prices. ~Perish the thought~.

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  4. Murray (8,838 comments) says:

    So we hate the green belt now? Ok lets defoliate Wellington and use it for firewood!

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  5. gazzmaniac (2,317 comments) says:

    I think it would have been better as a casino, personally.

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  6. waldo (2 comments) says:

    I think it is a great result. It is telling that it took Finlayson less than 3 years as a local list MP to make a huge difference for the eastern suburbs and finally do something with Watts Point. Meanwhile, Annette King still has nothing to say. Perhaps she is a little embarrassed after 15 years on inaction.

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  7. RRM (9,414 comments) says:

    I thought that was the jail up there…?

    Anyway, sounds nice, will definitely check it out.

    But I agree with the right wingers, it’s amazing how readily the powers that be (old people who own property) make decisions to limit the availability of land for building in the cities. You enjoy planning your retirements, chaps.

    How many years’ worth of the average income does it take to buy a house in Wellington, again?

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  8. Paulus (2,485 comments) says:

    As a former Wellingtonian with family there – what a terrific idea. I love it.

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  9. Mark (1,356 comments) says:

    A very good decision. Wellington is not short of development land nor is it’s population forecast to grow at a rate to justify throwing this to the developers.

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