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People who care – Doug Hutchison of Taranaki

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Nowells Lake @dancingintheraindotcom2 - WordPress

Conservation in practice, Hawera and Nowells Lake (wetlands) a team effort

Doug Hutchinson stands with a group of children who formed a conservation group called 'Habitat Heroes' @Jacob McSweeny NZHerald
Doug Hutchinson stands with a group of children who formed a conservation group called 'Habitat Heroes' @Jacob McSweeny NZHerald

In 2018 Hawera conservationist and the driving force behind the Nowells Lake Development was awarded the Queen’s Service Medal for services to conservation and the community.

What’s so great about Hawera highlights Nowell’s Lake as a significant wetland area worth a visit with the kids to see what local school children, the dedication of Doug Hutchison (Engineering Manager of Kiwi Dairy, now Fonterra) and the Rotary Club achieved.

Catchment Care is a partnership between Conservation Volunteers New Zealand and Fonterra.


Why visit Nowells Lake?

Visit and witness magic. A  combination of corporate business initiatives, lots of hard work by schoolchildren and volunteers has created a shared narrative where nature is now in charge (with a little help from friends). Fonterra (Dairy Producer) gifted the land to a community conservation project and hundreds of school children, service clubs continue to monitor and contribute time to the lakes.  The patchwork of signs illustrates the diverse nature of the Newell Lakes community.

It is a fantastic resource for schoolchildren and visitors to savour the regeneration and get inspired. The lake water naturally seeps into the gullies forming lakes which are purified by the peat subsoil and coastal dunes keep the water levels intact.

Nowells Lake @dancingintheraindotcom2 - WordPress
Nowells Lake @dancingintheraindotcom2 - WordPress

Highlights include

  • An insect motel for invertebrates to make themselves at home with spy holes for visitors to peer inside.
  • Koura or freshwater crays, birds and plants are flourishing in the windy, dry landscape.
  • Swamps and gullies offer visitors a glimpse of native plantings and an environment returning to its natural state.
  • Monarch butterflies in spring / summer attract butterflies
  • Watch for feeding kingfisher birds
  • A picnic where the massive Fonterra plant glimmers in the background looking incongruous yet oddly attractive.

Wetlands are the lungs of New Plymouth as well as natural water storage areas releasing heavy downpour flows slowly. With less than 10% of wetlands remaining in Taranaki wildlife such as native eels have dramatically pummitted. Native fish lack food resources to survive.

Taranaki’s wetlands give back to the community offering natural places to rest, revive and refresh the senses.

Visitors get to explore wild places and meet the locals, be they people or flourishing bird life. A charitable Trust has been set up to manage the care and development of the Newell Lake Walkway. Trustees are selected from and represent Fonterra the Regional Council and local Service Clubs. Three monthly meetings are held.

Nowell’s Lakes Walkway @This is South Taranaki
Nowell’s Lakes Walkway @This is South Taranaki

Primary Contact

Douglas Hutchinson

Role/Contact forSecretary/Treasurer

Phone Number06 278 6054


Nowell’s Lakes Walkway BLOGSPOT


Visit Nowells Lake where sustainable visitor experience is part and parcel of the Hawera experience.

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