The Kahikatea Reserve

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Oceania » New Zealand » South Island » Murchison
January 5th 2022
Published: January 5th 2022
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The well-known early New Zealand explorers Heaphy, Brunner and Fox, with their Māori guide Kehu were, in 1846, the first Europeans to see the area where Murchison now stands. After gold was struck in the Upper Buller in the 1860s the Nelson Provincial Government lost no time in planning for a future settlement. Murchison was taken from the name given by renowned geologist Julius von Haast to a nearby mountain in honour of a famous Scottish geologist.

Dairy farming became the mainstay of the area when the gold rushes had finished and the forest around Murchison had been milled. Today Murchison provides services for the surrounding farming community as well as the travelling public. With a population of approximately 750 people, Murchison has a museum, information centre, petrol station, and a wide variety of accommodation, several shops, hotels and cafés.

An easy loop track abutting the Murchison camping ground at the eastern end of the town. The Kahikatea Reserve is a small remnant of the lowland podocarp forest which would have once dominated the plains around Murchison. The reserve features many fine specimens of kahikatea and mataī trees and a lush ferny understorey. Many forest-dwelling birds can be observed
and heard, including bellbirds, tuī, kererū, robins, fantails, silvereyes and kingfishers.

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