Seton Nossiter Park is a 30ha protected natural reserve nestled in the steep gullies
between the surrounding suburbs of Grenada Village and Horokiwi to the north, Woodridge
to the east and Newlands and Paparangi to the south. The embankment of the Northern
motorway forms the western boundary. The park is 1.6 kms long.
The Belmont Stream flows through the park and is a prominent and attractive feature.
It is a major tributary of the Porirua Stream that flows from Glenside through Tawa
to the Porirua harbour.
The Mark Avenue Entrance to the Park
The main entrance to the park is from Mark Avenue, Grenada Village, where there
is a parking area and a service road down into the main valley floor.
Seton Nossiter Park provides several walking tracks through native bush. There are
open space areas, streams, and several picnic spots. It is very sheltered and has
its own micro-climate due to its low lying nature to the surrounding hillsides.
It provides a natural environment for recreational use and enjoyment. The park is
used for a variety of activities including use by the three neighbouring schools
for nature study, bush-craft, local history studies, and cross-country runs. It
is a haven for informal recreation and natural atmosphere.
The park not only provides an important vegetation link between the adjoining suburbs,
but also presents a bird and wildlife corridor between the eastern harbour escarpment,
the Belmont Gully and ultimately the Belmont Regional Park. Some of the birds sighted
in the park are the native pigeon, tui, fantail, waxeye, morepork, grey warbler,
long-tailed and shining
cuckoo, grey duck and kingfisher. Bell-birds have been heard. This is in addition
to the regular quail, magpie, sparrow, starling, blackbird and skylark. A remnant
titoki-tawa forest is located on the valley floor near the traditional picnic site
and extends up the slopes on both sides of the valley.
The park is part of the Wellington Outer Town Belt that runs in continuous sections
in a northerly direction from the southern coast, through Karori to Otari to Mt
Kau Kau and on to Porirua (west of the motorway) while branching to the east at
Glenside through Seton Nossiter Park to Belmont.
The Belmont Viaduct
There is an information panel erected at the entrance from Mark Avenue depicting
the history of the Belmont Viaduct that was constructed in 1885 and traversed the
gully as part of the Wellington & Manawatu Railway Company. The viaduct was one
of the great engineering achievements of 19th century New Zealand and is a distinctive
and memorable part of this country's early transport system. The original gigantic
wooden trestle span not only played a significant role in developing early Wellington,
but also eventually became part of the North Island main truck line. It was the
largest wooden structure of its kind in New Zealand. The viaducts original foundation
abutments are not far from the main entrance and remain clearly visible.
The park has featured in the Wellington City Council's booklet 'Branching Out' and
was described as "one of Wellington's best kept secrets and one of the most historical
Under the Reserves Act 1977, the park is a recreational reserve that gives priority
to outdoor recreational activities, walking tracks, open spaces and protection of
the natural environment. Under the provisions of the Act, the Wellington City Council
were required to prepare a Management Plan for the park to guide its management
and development for the next ten years. The Plans purpose and role is to: "provide
for and ensure the use, enjoyment, maintenance, protection, preservation and development
of the reserve for the purpose for which it is classified". It ensures that the
natural character of the Park will be retained and enhanced where possible. The
plan became operational in August 1996.
To ensure that there was direct local input and community representation in the
preparation and development of the plan, the Seton Nossiter Park Working Group was
established. This working group represented a large number of local community groups,
park users and other local people. It was also formed to ensure that the communities
and other park users interests were identified and recognised.
How did Seton Nossiter Park get its name? The land was purchased by the City Council
in 1979 from Ray Turkington. The Council's Reserve Committee decided to name if
after Seton Nossiter of Ohariu Valley, as recognition for his contribution to various
local body activities in the area. Mr. Nossiter was a member of the Hutt County
for the Makara Ward from 1966 until the area became part of Wellington City. He
was then a City Councillor until 1977. At the time, two other names were put forward
for consideration. One was 'Viaduct Park" because of the park's historical association
with the Wellington & Manawatu Railway Company and another was Grenada Park after
the development and obvious close affiliation with Grenada Village