Some places are special and most of us have special places. Owhango in the Central North Island definitely rates as one of my special places and most years I am able to spend several weeks based there.
It is a small, blink and you’ll miss it, old logging town on State Highway 4, far enough south of Taumarunui to win Central Plateau status. One of Owhango’s most endearing features is due to something that never happened. Clear felling was the order of the day but one block missed the chop. Somehow the various mill bosses of the early 1900s agreed to set aside a block of bush between the town and the Whakapapa River, this became the Ohinetonga Scenic Reserve.
Now Owhango has at its back door that rarest of blessings, an unlogged old growth native forest – think massive old totara and rimu with the dappled light of tawa foliage amongst beds of fern. Through this runs a loop track with a board walk over a classic oxbow lagoon.
Locals have come together as an organisation called “Owhango Alive” to ramp up the predator control for the benefit of native birds and other critters in and around this gem.
Like community groups throughout the country they rely on local fundraising and or applying for grants, a process that consumes vast amounts of time. I offered to help in photographer’s currency and the editor of the Owhango Alive 2020 Calendar selected these six images from the hundreds I have taken in the Ohinetonga Reserve.