Whirinaki 25 – Bellamy, bikes, birds and bush

Katrina Knill —  07/09/2009

I got to hang out with Dr David Bellamy last Saturday – how cool is that??!!

Dr David Bellamy gives me a squeeze

Dr David Bellamy gives me a squeeze

I was running some children’s activities as part of the 25 year celebration of Whirinaki Forest Park which is a fabulous example of people getting involved if ever I saw one.

25 years ago the community and David Bellamy got involved and were instrumental in stopping native logging and establishing the Park. 

Last weekend the local community including, iwi, tourism businesses, Rotorua Mountain Bike Club, Rotorua 4WD club, NZ Deerstalkers Rotorua Branch, Forest & Bird and scientists from Scion & Wildlands Consultants all pitched in with DOC to run an amazing 3 day programme of activities for all ages, abilities and interests.

Offerings ranged from tasting traditional kai or mountain biking on a new 35km track to guided forest walks and a family treasure hunt.

Not only was this a celebration of the Forest Park but also a chance for DOC & the local community to showcase the fabulous visitor attractions that the Park has to offer and encourage the growth of tourism-based business that will benefit the local economy.

It’s an amazing forest, thank goodness they saved it – during my stay I got to walk amongst giant rimu, kahikatea, totara and miro.  Kaka were flying around all day, there were whio (blue duck) in the river beside the camp and a ruru (morepork) parked up on a tree beside me on Friday evening.  My partner rode the new mountain bike track and said it was fantastic (took about 5hrs).

Get involved – visit Whirinaki and get the locals to show you around.

And yes, I did get an autograph, for my Dad – great Fathers Day present!

Katrina Knill


I work for DOCs Tauranga Office, where I co-ordinate our public liaison efforts with stakeholders & the general public. I get to work with our staff and community groups as well as helping out in emergencies such as forest fires, whale strandings and dealing with injured birds, seals etc.

3 responses to Whirinaki 25 – Bellamy, bikes, birds and bush

    Maureen Burgess 06/10/2009 at 8:20 pm

    My first visit to Whirinaki and I’m so glad to have been there for the 25 years celebration. A chance for us to remeber all those who worked so hard to save the forest (and I also got an autograph).

    Dave Wakelin 11/09/2009 at 12:18 pm

    Well done Trina and everyone involved … such a magic part of natural New Zealand.


    Hi Katrina, thank you for your kind words.

    It was amazing to see how everyone came together from all sorts of backgrounds to make Whirinaki25 such a sucess. This is what it must have been like 25-30 years ago when the original protests took place to save the ‘Dinosaur Forest’.

    People banding together with a common goal makes it easy for people like me and DOC to assist communities to make real conservation difference.

    Cheers, Mike