Kelly's Conservation Forest is rather unique in that it is one of the very few pieces of bush left that dates from pre-European times, yet lies within the city boundaries. It has been designated an Area of Special Significance and a recent assessment of the bush gave it a ‘High Rarity’ score.
For the past 34 years, our family, assisted by many community groups, have worked to clear the weeds and replant the gully on either side of and below the original bush, effectively doubling its size. We have put trails, steps and bridges through it, and get well over 1000 visitors a year. We also have built a shadehouse where we propagate and grow native trees for replanting. The schools are involved with this and the planting programme.
At our last inventory, there were at least 73 different species of native tree growing, including some quite rare species. We also have a plethora of ferns, orchids and fungi some of which are also rare. Native birds abound; Tawa berries in Kelly's Bush are a main food source for kererū in the Nelson City area and they are seen in large flocks here. The endangered Pārera ducks breed here. There are at least three species of gecko (including the rare Nelson green gecko), giant earthworms and many shells of powelliphanta have been found in the bush in good condition, suggesting a live population may still exist. There are native fish in the stream nearby, including banded kokopu, inanga, kōura and eels.
We are now planning to retire another 7 ha of pasture, most of which adjoins the present bush area, and plant this out in native trees too. This will not only help prevent erosion, which these steep hills are prone to, but increase the size of the bush area for community education and recreation.
Funders matched to this planter
Kelly's Conservation Forest has had support for their plantings from 781 funders since 2017 and has received 13,985 trees through Trees That Count.
News & stories
Read about how Kelly's Conservation Forest has made an impact.