Sunday, December 10, 2017

Update about Lavender's Land / Roland's Wood extension

From Simon Upperton, 
Chairperson Friends of Roland’s Wood Charitable Trust

The Friends of Roland’s Wood is pleased to announce it has received resource consent from the Far North District Council (FNDC) to subdivide four sections off Lavender’s Land and we will now move to take these to market in the very near term. 

A real estate agency will shortly be appointed by the board and the sections will be advertised and sold in a transparent sales process.

We are delighted because this leaves over 80% of Lavender’s Land free for expansion of Roland’s Wood, a parkland area that is used and enjoyed by so many. 

The Trust took on considerable debt to acquire Lavender’s Land and is selling the minimal number of sections commensurate with repayment of this debt, covering of development costs, and provision of capital to establish the parkland. 

Once the Trust is debt free and sustainable our intention is to gift Lavender’s Land to the community by amalgamating with Roland’s Wood, thus creating one park to be managed by the Trust with oversight from the FNDC.

Lavender’s Land has considerable potential, although a large area is currently covered in tobacco weed and gorse. As we remove this and replant, a vast new area will be opened up to the public in 2018. 

There is plenty of planning and planting to be done in the coming years and we will be in a financial position to deliver significant projects. 

Roland’s Wood also requires a lot of attention with many diseased and dead trees and we are pleased to have enlisted some very qualified and experienced volunteers to assist us. We continue to rely on volunteer support and welcome all to contribute their time and energy.

The work needed to obtain these resource consents has kept us all busy, so we have had little concrete news to report for a while. It has been a carefully considered process that conserves as much land as practical, whilst meeting our ambition of clearing our debts and being in a sustainable position by the end of 2018.

We have had considerable help from Haigh Workman and Thomson Survey in getting the resource consent application in and approved, and we thank them for their fantastic support. 

I would also like to thank the board members of the Trust for their tireless work in getting this far. A lot of work goes on in the background that goes unnoticed.

If you have any questions on any of the above, please contact:
Simon Upperton – Chairperson Friends of Roland’s Wood Charitable Trust
Ph 0211 917 427 e

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Bluebells flowering...

In haste, a quick post to remind people that now is the time to visit Roland's Wood and see the bluebells...   Here are a few photos I took this morning...

There are also some intensely coloured rhododendrons,


the last of the daffodils, fresh new green leaves starting,

  and of course the glorious apple blossom tree in full flower by the  entrance to the Woods.

Friday, July 28, 2017

Lavender's Land Open Day

This Sunday, 29th July from 11 to 1pm

Lavender's Land Open day for people to mix and mingle and have the opportunity to hear what our plans are for Lavender's Land and where we are at.
The BBQ will be cranking, so bring the family and of course don't forget the dog.
Roland's Wood polos will also be on sale and donations also obviously gratefully received, but more than anything else its a fun day.
Simon Upperton, Chair, Friends of Roland's Wood Charitable Trust

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Our inaugural AGM Friends of Roland's Wood Charitable Trust

Friends of Roland’s Wood Charitable Trust AGM

Our inaugural AGM will be held at the St Johns building, 357 Kerikeri Road, on Wednesday 22nd Feb 2017 at 7.00pm.

All are welcome – come along to hear about what has been achieved so far and future plans for this important community asset.

Election of the Board
·         All board positions will be made vacant and an election of the new board will be voted on by financial members including the position of Chairperson.
·         We are looking to expand the board to the maximum seven and we encourage people to join.
·         To be nominated you must be a financial member which can be done on the night, however all board nominations must be received 24 hours prior to the AGM.
·         Quite simply we need more help, particularly in the areas of fundraising and operations, i.e. helping develop the parkland.
·         Positions such as secretary, treasurer, fundraising and operations will be appointed by the board and not necessarily be board members.

There will also be a presentation by the current Trust Chair on the background, current status and future plans.

Contact Simon Upperton Ph 0211 917 427 or email for more information.

We need your help!

The Friends of Roland’s Wood desperately needs to raise $10,000 to fund two projects.
1   Developing a website 

We have been given a very generous offer of support to build and service a website for $1,500. This plan is to have a website so we can keep people better updated of the goings on at Roland’s Wood and Lavender’s Land and also have a database of contacts and the ability to build functionality as required. We have generously been offered $500, so we need another $1,000 to fund the build which we would like to have up & running around the time of our AGM on the 22nd of Feb.

2   Developing Lavender's Land

As most of you are aware we have incurred a large debt of $436,000 to fund the acquisition of Lavender’s Land that incurs interest, approximately $1,000 per month. To repay this debt within two years we will need to sell some sections, most likely 3-4.

We will still retain approximately 75% of the land we purchased and the same access for the sections will provide the access to the new car park. We will shortly be applying for resource consent. We have generous support from surveyors and professionals putting together our plan for subdivision with a substantial discount of around 50% of their usual fee being applied. The cost we expect to be in the range of $7,500 - $9,000.

Currently we have a bank balance of $14,000 which we require to service interest costs. So we are asking for the generosity of the community to assist us in raising the $10,000 required.

If you would like to help us with either of these projects, or just support Roland's Wood and Lavender's Land generally, please make a donation to

Friends of Roland's Wood Charitable Trust
ASB  Bank 12-3091-0010645-00
Please reference your name and phone number for a receipt for tax purposes.

Or contact Simon Upperton ph 0211 917 427 or

The Friends of Roland's Wood Charitable Trust warmly thanks you all for your continued and generous support.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Heavenly hydrangeas

Another stunning photo from Barbara Stewart from her walk in the Woods in the weekend - a real beauty of a hydrangea...
Cutting a swathe through a section of the colour wheel from bougainvillea purples through lilac, lavender, mauve and violet, to the softest blues - Cambridge blue, with specks of apple green to highlight...  I love it!  The petals are like butterfly wings.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

More lovely magnolias

For those who'd like a virtual visit to Roland's Wood, enjoy these lovely white magnolias now in flower, photographed by Barbara Stewart and kindly shared here...

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Magnolias in flower, beautifully photographed by Barbara Stewart

Through conversations with the main hard worker at Roland's Wood, John Horrell, I was contacted by Barbara Stewart offering some photographs she had taken in the Woods, in particular of all the magnolias, to add to the blog.
What a treat - the warm deep magenta against a wintry soft grey sky... I'll post a few of these here with more to come, and many thanks to Barbara for sharing them.   Barbara's offer has been a catalyst to revisit this poor neglected blog - pressure of work mainly to blame, and I will post some more photos from her and updates of where things are at with the Friends of Roland's Wood soon...

Here's a link to an earlier post about Roland's planting of magnolias from world-renowned, local magnolia breeder, Oswald Blumhardt.

And just a heads up - the very first bluebells are starting to flower - still a way off the blue haze, mid September, but the promise is there...

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Roland’s Wood and Lavender’s Land

Roland’s Wood and Lavender’s Land
Prospectus, February 2016

Roland's Wood is a four hectare piece of "English style woodland", with a Northland twist, on Inlet Road, 3kms from Kerikeri, generously bequeathed to the people and dogs of Kerikeri by Roland Sansom.
After a period of neglect The Woods has been supported and maintained by an army of volunteers who have become known as the Friends of Roland’s Wood (FORW).  For around a decade the FORW have been steadily bringing the woods up to a standard that Roland Sansom would have been proud of. There have been many unsung heroes and everyone who has contributed to resurrecting this stunning woodland is not only thanked by the Trust but I am sure, by the people of Kerikeri.
The park-like setting is a paradise for dog owners where dog owners can let their best friends run and forage off-lead. It has become a vital community asset when there are few other areas that allow dogs to roam free.
At the time of Roland’s premature passing, half of his land holdings in the area of what is now known as Roland’s Wood was bequeathed to the Far North District Council (FNDC) in trust with the remaining half bequeathed to his sister, Lavender, who has now also passed away. This neighbouring 5.4 hectares of land was also planted in many of the English style trees by Roland Sansom which still exists today, although not maintained.


With Lavender’s passing the land is now in the hands of her estate beneficiaries who have instructed the trustees to sell the entire lot. The land currently has resource consent for subdivision into housing which would likely mean, if developed, that many of the trees will be lost.
In Dec 2015 The Friends of Roland’s Wood formed a charitable trust to formalise as a body, in the anticipation of taking over formal operational and financial management of Roland’s Wood, with oversight from the Trustee, the FNDC. This is currently in train with on-going discussion with FNDC on the formal transfer.


The Friends of Roland’s Wood see an opportunity for the people of Kerikeri and surrounds to secure this additional land, preserving it from development for generations to come. Kerikeri is a fast-growing area and to have a 10 hectare park with woodlands, a dog park, walks and acres of space for children’s activities within five minutes of Kerikeri township would be a jewel in our town’s crown.
If this land is not purchased by the FORW Trust it is likely to be developed and cut up into sections for housing and will be lost to the community forever. As a Trust we have long and short term ambitions.  Current parking and access to Roland’s Wood on Inlet Road is insufficient and also considered dangerous by many as the turning on a busy road on a partially blind corner has its hazards. By acquiring the additional land currently known as Lavender’s Land the Trust will be able to secure a much safer and wider access via the bottom of Heron Hill. It will also enable the Trust to put in appropriate parking facilities rather than the current parking which only caters for approximately four vehicles and has a difficult turning circle.

Over time we envisage increasing the woodland/dog park area into some of what is now ‘Lavender’s Land’. This would still leave plenty of land to develop things like a large scale adventure play ground, picnic areas and walking tracks down to the Okura stream (as examples) so not only the woodland and dog lovers get to appreciate the asset, but it then becomes a broader community space that can be utilised by all.  The slopes leading down to the Okura stream we envisage will be planted in natives after a serious weed eradication program to remove the gorse etc.

The current covenants in the Roland’s Wood Trust don’t allow buildings or signage and are quite restrictive. The FORW Trust respect the wishes of Roland Samson and by acquiring the land next door it will not only give us flexibility, with better and access parking but it would also allow us to have a small implement shed, a water tank and some signage. Perhaps build a community pagoda among other things.  Currently the volunteers have to bring back and forth all the tools they need and also any water required. There is nowhere to store a quad and trailer. These may seem like small matters but it has a very big detrimental impact on the on-going maintenance and development of the woods.

What is required

It is likely the Trust will only have a very short window of time to raise sufficient funds to acquire the land.  The Trust will require strong support from the local community, media, community board, dog lovers and council to raise sufficient funds to make the acquisition to preserve these 10 hectares for the community for future generations to enjoy.
The recent Crowd Funding for the beach in the South Island is a good example of what can be achieved and we will be following a similar model by utilising Spark’s Crowd Funding platform, Give-A-Little.
Publicity and selling our story of what a great community asset this will be for generations to come. Imagine people, your grand children and their children in 50 – 100 years time appreciating such a large green space that was secured generations earlier.
What we don’t have a lot of is time. We know the resource consent expires in mid June 2016 and we envisage the beneficiaries of Lavenders Estate will want to have secured a sale well before this expires.


The FORW’s ambition is to acquire the entire 5.4 hectares and expand on the woodland and create parkland for the rest. However there is a backstop position if fund-raising doesn’t meet our ultimate objective. The current resource consent allows up to 14 sections over a multi stage development. One or two of these sections could be sold off by the Trust for little development cost, comparative to the rest and the compromise to the parkland isn’t significant. These sections are bordering the existing Heron Hill road and would still allow for the access and parking we desire and also still achieve approximately 3-4 hectares of additional parkland. This is not the preferred outcome for the Trust, but it is an option we must consider if fundraising falls short of out target and still allows us to acquire the land.

Fundraising Target

Our target amount of funds is $600,000. These funds will be sufficient to acquire the land and also help fund on-going maintenance and development of Lavender’s Land and Roland’s Wood.
We don’t have a lot of time. The beneficiaries of Lavender’s Estate want a quick sale and we need to be in a position to commit to acquiring by the end of April 2016. (Actual date to be determined)
We are looking for generous benefactors, but every little bit counts and no donation is too small. Like the saying, many hands make light work, more donations, no matter what size, more donations gets us closer to our target.
If we are unsuccessful at acquiring the land, any funds raised will be returned if requested  by the party who put up the funds and don’t want to donate to the Roland’s Wood Charitable Trust for the on-going costs of maintenance and development. The Spark Give-A-Little platform ensures that any funds donated to the cause are protected and will only be taken up for the purpose intended.

So what will the new parkland look like?
Effectively the land area will more than double.  As you will see by the aerial pictures on the next page, by acquiring the land we will obtain an area of considerable size that is already planted in the same style as Roland’s Wood.

How can you help?

  • Donate to our Give a Little campaign
  • Spread the word via social media and or personal contacts and organizations
  • Become a member membership forms available by contacting Robyn.

ΓΌ Any volunteers to assist in our goal are very welcome.  Contact details:

If you would like to know more about Roland’s Wood and the Friends of please visit our web page or visit our Facebook page

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Bluebell and blossom time

Just a quick update for anyone checking on the blog about the bluebells flowering in Roland's Wood - here are a few photos from today to show you what's happening - they are a bit later this year but well underway now...

Here's a link to a post I did a couple of years ago in case of interest about bluebells.

When I went today the Parua Bay Garden Club were visiting the Woods and enjoying a guided tour with John Horrell.


One of my favourite trees in the Woods is the crab apple right by the entrance - it is a cloud of pink and white blossom at the moment, and humming with bees - every little cluster of flowers had a bee crawling over it...


Sunday, September 20, 2015

Melbourne's map of trees

Earlier this year Kevin and I had a short but rewarding holiday in Melbourne and we absolutely loved the city for many and various reasons, including its libraries (the State Library of Victoria is wonderful, and the new Docklands library too) and its trees...

Melbourne has a LOT to recommend it - a city full of handsome buildings with parks and gardens around every corner, free trams in the CBD, brilliant restaurants in Chinatown, little Italy and the Greek precinct, shopping and night markets. Other highlights for us included the Ian Potter Centre of Australian art, the Shrine of Remembrance, the Botanical gardens, the Immigration museum and Kevin also went to the MCG and Sports Museum where he took a (virtual) 4 runs off a Shane Warne over!

Look out for shops full of macarons of every flavour and hue, Kay Craddock Antiquarian Bookseller with a shop full of books and owls (customers buy books and bring owls to add to the collection), the delicatessen at Queen Victoria Markets with gorgeous bread, olives, salami, coffee, chocolate and more, and then there's the trees...

The elms are the oldest in the world now since Dutch Elm disease decimated the northern hemisphere, plus sycamore, oaks, plane trees, gum, pines, palms.  Check out the Urban Forest Visual where each of the city’s 70,000 trees has been mapped with a description of its genus, age and condition – now there’s a city that values its foliage.

Wouldn't it be great to have a map like this for Roland's Wood?

As you scroll down you can read about the steps Melbourne city is taking to increase diversity and reduce risks, which is EXACTLY the same thing that John Horrell is talking about for Roland's Wood.

From the Urban Forest website : 

Increasing diversity

A lack of species diversity leaves the urban forest vulnerable to threats from pests, disease, and stress due to climate change. Currently our urban forest is dominated by eucalypts, planes, elms and gums (corymbias). Many of these trees were planted at the same time during condensed periods of planting activity, and large numbers of elms and planes are now reaching the end of their useful life expectancy.

37% of planes have a life expectancy of less than 10 years.

50% of elms have a life expectancy of less than 10 years.

Reducing Risk

Combined with the substantial losses associated with an ageing tree population, myrtle rust and sycamore lace bug are current threats to the Eucalyptus, Corymbia and Platanus genera. Diversification is a basic rule for reducing risk. A greater range of species will provide greater resilience and long-term stability for the forest as a whole.

Anyway, I'd say if you are looking for a place in Australia to visit for a holiday, go to Melbourne!  It is often voted as one of the world’s most liveable cities, and is a Unesco City of Literature too – leaves on branches, leaves in books...

Monday, September 7, 2015

Sophie, full of bounce

It was lovely to meet Sophie, a little Schnauzer, full of bounce and joie de vivre - she comes to the Woods most days with Christine who is looking after her at the moment. 

It was practically impossible to get a photo of this little ball of energy who ran and scampered and investigated here and there, tail wagging all the time - such a happy and busy little dog, most photos were a blur, but here are few in case her owner who is overseas at the moment has a chance to see his canine friend having a great time and being so well looked after... 

And doing what dogs love doing at Roland's Wood - finding a friend to run, chase and play with...