The Friends of Wainui Reserve met at the Hamilton Gardens to share thoughts and reminisce over the sudden and unexpected passing of a valued and long-serving member, Alwyn (always known as Olly) Seeley, who for seven years chaired Friends of Wainui.

Olly came into the group almost by accident, when the Raglan Ramblers were walking the shores of Aotea Harbour, where Olly was also walking.

At that time Olly was developing his 2.2 hectare Hamilton East section (now taken on by Hamilton City as the AJ Seeley Gully Reserve), which was then covered in trees and weedy regrowth. His ambition was to plant it all in native trees, once thriving in the area.

That was finally achieved and the official opening was on 9 September 2012. By coincidence, the Friends of Wainui had also just started with restoring their 10 hectares. So there was a lot in common.

Olly joined the group and was one of the regular members, never missing a planting, or work day, often bringing trees. Although quiet by nature and having had an unrelated career as an ear, nose and throat specialist, Olly’s knowledge of nature, trees and plantings was considerable. In later years, one of Olly’s regular jobs at Friends of Wainui was lawn-mowing.

To mark that work, Friends of Wainui now plan to plant a grove of trees in one of the stream-side areas he mowed. With the current unpredictable weather, no schedule has been set for the work, which will be added to the other tree planting plans, already started. To complete the plan as effectively as the original 1993 volunteers, Friends of Wainui needs more volunteers. If you’d like to help, please ring John on 825 7866.

John Lawson