Charles Heaphy and the Hutt Valley

When Charles Heaphy arrived with the New Zealand Company in 1839 the Hutt Valley was covered in forest. Forty years later most of this was gone.

In 1879 Heaphy recalled how the environment had been, highlighting what had been lost:

“The forest was more undisturbed. Along the eastern shore, from the mouth of the Hutt River to outside of Ward Island, the forest was uninterrupted, and the trees overhung the water, giving shelter to great numbers of wild fowl.”

“The forest was then teeming with birds. Of twelve or fourteen species of small birds that were then to be seen in every wood, only the tui, the fly-catcher, and the wren, with the sand-lark, in the open, are now common, while the robin, the bell-bird, the titmouse, the thrush, the popokatea, the tiraweke, and the riroriro, are rarely seen or have entirely passed away.”

(Charles Heaphy. ‘On Port Nicholson and the Natives in 1839’, Transactions and Proceedings of the New Zealand Institute, v.12  1879)

Charles Heaphy, 1867 (Ref: 1/2-003062-F Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand.)
port nick
Heaphy, Charles 1820-1881: Port Nicholson from the hills above Pitone in 1840 / drawn by Chas. Heaphy Esqre. London, Smith Elder & Co., [1845] (Ref: PUBL-0009. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.)
Overlooking Lower Hutt, through trees. (Ref: 1/1-025575-G. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.)

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