Welcome to the "Friends of Iwitahi" web page


Chiloglottis valida
Chiloglottis valida

Iwitahi Native Orchid Heritage Protection Area is a "very special place"!

Strangely enough, it consists of 14.3 hectares of Pinus nigra in the Kaingaroa forest, along the Taupo-Napier Road. The reason this bunch of pine trees is protected under a Heritage Protection Order, is due to the astounding list of 30+ species of New Zealand native orchids growing there.

Nowhere else in the country is it possible to see so many different species and varieties in one place, some of which flower in their thousands! Included in the list are 1 endangered species, one classified as "vulnerable" and the rare Chiloglottis valida. This is the only known site of this particular orchid in the North Island. As the ground cover of dense pine needles encourages fungal growth to create a perfect habitat, native orchids from elsewhere deemed to need active protection (such as Townsonia deflexa and Chiloglottis trapeziformis) have been relocated into the area.

Discovery of a large number of native species in the 1980's and the later finding of Chiloglottis valida lead to current H.P.A status being offered in February, 1993. Since then, the area has been managed by a committee. The work there has largely been thanks to the helpful efforts of volunteers organised by the tireless Trevor Nicholls of Taupo, who has also worked with the forest owners to achieve its protected status. Recently the committee has updated a management plan to ensure the continued success of the area.

The main jobs that require funding and volunteer labour are: baiting for feral pests such as possums, weeding, monitoring and surveying plant colonies as they expand, and digging holes in readiness for the replanting of young pine trees. These holes need to be dug six to twelve months in advance for the Pinus nigra seedlings to survive and continue to provide the unique and essential habitat in which the orchids thrive. Volunteers range from the Rangitaiki School children, to environmental groups like Forest & Bird, to local supporters and even overseas visitors who are keen to do their part!

In 2004 we applied to Environment Bay of Plenty for a funding which was excepted, it would help us greatly in managing the reserve.

The money help us greatly in ways that would have been imposable with out funding. A big part of the reserve needed to be cleared of scrub which was taking over the under storey of the forest. We used a local Nursery who has a very good knowledge of native flora for this job.
The funding also helped us get 500 Pinus nigra seedlings propagated which we needed to fill gaps in the forest where trees have fallen over and created large gaps in the canopy.

We would like the thank EBOP for their support.

Click on species to view image

Orchid Species list
Genus Species Flowering time
Adenochilus gracilus Dec - Jan
Aporostylis bifolia green leaf Dec - Jan
Aporostylis bifolia red leaf form Dec - Jan
Caladenia atradenia Dec - Jan
Caladenia bartlettii Dec - Jan
Caladenia chlorostyla Dec - Jan
Caladenia lyallii Nov - Dec
Caladenia lyallii small Dec - Jan
Caladenia variegata Dec - Jan
Calochilus robertsoni Nov - Jan
Chiloglottis cornuta Oct - Dec
Chiloglottis (transplanted) trapizeformis Nov - Jan
Chiloglottis valida Oct - Dec
Corybas cheesemanii May - June
Corybas? macranthus Sep - Oct
Corybas triwhite Sep - Nov
Earina autumnalis Mar - April
Earina mucronata Dec - Jan
Gastrodia cunninghamii Dec - Feb
Gastrodia minor Dec - Feb
Gastrodia sesamoides Dec - Feb
Microtis unifolia Nov - Jan
Orthoceras novea-zeelandiae Jan - April
Prasophyllum colensoi Dec - Jan
Pterostylis aff montana aff montana aff montana Nov - Dec
Pterostylis banksii Nov - Dec
Pterostylis cardiostigma Dec - Feb
Pterostylis foliata? Oct - Nov
Pterostylis patens Nov - Dec
Townsonia (transplanted)? deflexa
Thelymitra formosa Jan - Feb
Thelymitra longifolia Dec - Jan
Thelymitra nervosa Nov - Jan
Thelymitra pauciflora Dec - Jan

tours of flowering orchids in H.P.A
working bees (weeding / transplanting etc)
your chance to help protect NZ native orchids
For further info contact: Toby Marris
Email Toby

Photos and website by Robbie Graham