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3561 State Highway 2, Tutira, 4181

Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

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France Flat Rehabilitation

For some years now the Trust has been discussing the future of the flat area below France Hut, which had become somewhat of an eyesore, and prone to flooding in weather events. The water that flows through the area rises in the Hanger, and flows through Magnolia Gully, a series of dams that act as nutrient filters, out between Chinese and Japanese sections, across France Flat and under State Highway 2 into Lake Tutira.

The thought of building a wetland area was prominent, however it became apparent that the cost of building and planting out a series of ponds and walkways was well beyond the resources of the Trust. Most funding for wetlands is contingent on the planting of indigenous species only, which while admirable in most circumstances, does not fit with the Trust’s thinking of bio-diversity in the widest sense in the modern world; so the decision was made to go with funding we had already secured, and clean out and deepen the existing channel and to dig a small dam in the northern corner, which in turn will overflow into the existing culvert under the highway.

The Trustees of the Guthrie Smith Trust would like to thank the Springhill Trust for their generous contribution towards the work done in the France Flat area.

France Flat Guthrie Smith
Photo on left shows existing channel beneath Japanese section and resultant flooding of France Flat; the right shows ponding where new dam has been built. (Christison)
France Flat Guthrie Smith
The flat area was sprayed and when the ground condtions were dry enough in summer earthworks were carried out. The flat area has been graded so any run-off drains into the dam. (Belcher)
France Flat Guthrie Smith
Grasses and sedges are to be planted along the channel to act as further filtering for run-off. The area around the dam will be planted in a mix of indigenous and exotic species, and the flat area is to be grassed and mown. This will provide a picnic area, and clear views of Lake Tutira and surrounding hills from high points in the arboretum. (Belcher)
France Flat Guthrie Smith
In late March, the area was power-harrowed and grass sown (Christison).