The Hawaan Forest Conservation Trust

 

Members of the Hawaan Forest Estate and Visitors to the website.

 

I am delighted, as one of the two Founding Members of the Hawaan Forest Conservation Trust to welcome you to our website. This Trust was established in August 2004 and 11 years later, after a good deal of hard work, we are seeing the fruits of our labor in the efforts the Trust has brought to the Hawaan Forest.

 

Background:

 

Hawaan Investments (Pty) Ltd purchased the land consisting of 157 acres  from Durban Country Club in 2003 , and on an Application under the then Planning statutes, the Company applied for development of an housing Estate on a portion of the land which had been previously farmed on for sugar cane . It was obvious to the Directors of the development Company that the beauty of a major part of their 157 acres which consisted of coastal forest and grasslands, should be preserved in perpetuity, and with this in mind, as part of the Application for the development process Hawaan Investments requested the developmental Tribunal to sanction the formation of a Conservation Trust, to oversee and assist the Company to give the forest back its life, funded by the development part of the land.  Thus this Trust was conceived and has been functional ever since.

 

In the years between the Trust being formed and June 2007, the Trust initiatives was funded by Hawaan Investments, but as development of the Hawaan Forest Estate progressed since 2007 to date, the funding of the Trust has and is continuing   through an income stream flowing from the housing Estate.

 

Importance of the Hawaan Forest:

 

The Hawaan Forest, just north of Umhlanga is the largest and best kept remnant  of coastal lowland Forest in Durban . It is estimated that more than 90% of this forest type has been destroyed  in historic times  to make way for agriculture and urban settlement. As such the Forest, along with the nearby dune forest, beach and Umhlanga River and estuary, represents a significant environmental asset in the north of the City.

 

Two of the most common trees in the Forest, the Natal Hickory and Coshwood are generally rare in forests elsewhere in South Africa . Pythons, Bushbuck, red and Blue Duiker and Crowned Eagles still roam the area . Prior to the Hawaan Investments acquiring this land the Forest suffered from a lack of management , and in parts there were fairly serious infestation , of triffid weed  and if it had continued unchecked  would have continued to degrade this natural area.

 

The management of the forest and grasslands is now carried out under the auspices of this Conservation Trust with funding achieved through the Home Owners Association of the development part of the Estate.

 

During the application for development, the then City Manager Dr. Michael Sutcliffe   made a commitment to allocate resources to assist in the alien eradication program. In the 1970’s  the City laid a trunk sewer  through the forest  and this disturbance had allowed  invader plants  to gain a foothold  on the property and these plants were a threat to the integrity of the forest . In making good Dr. Sutcliffe’s promise, the City’s Parks and Environmental Management Department each year, arrange for the employment of 20 previously disadvantaged men and women who are trained to clear any excessive amounts of aliens to attend along this pipeline area . This has continued and is currently on going since 2005.

 

Our current Trustees of this Trust are:

 

  • Pat Naicker and Anthony Michael O’Neil - The Directors of Hawaan Investments and the Founders of the Trust.
  • Guy Nicolson – Environmental Consultant
  • Pieter Burger – Chairman of WESSA
  • Robin Westley – Attorney with Cox Yeats

Two members of the HOA of the Housing Estate.

  • As interested and affected parties we also have on our Trust a representative of Tongaat Hulett Developments (Owners of the adjacent land / Forest), and Richard Boon and Lyle Ground from the Biodiversity Department of the eThekwini Municipality.

I would like to express the Company’s gratitude for the time that the above persons give up to attend meetings, now held twice a year, and to interact with us during the entire course of the year. This is really appreciated.

 

In appreciation


Our thanks also go to Geoff Nichols – who over the years from the date of our acquisition of the land at Hawaan was a mainstream contributor as a Consultant and a supporter of our plans and initiatives. Geoff continues to give us advice when called to do so, so we still regard him as part of our “team”

A very special note of thanks to Richard Boon and Lyle Ground from the Biodiversity Department of the Ethekwini Municipality for their unstinting and continued support and advice on our efforts with the Trust. Your expertise is invaluable.

 

Obituary


It would be very remiss of me not to mention our deep gratitude to two of our past Trustees, as follows:

 

Bill Duthie :(1921 -2007) Bill had an extraordinary passion and connection with the forest  and he remained a Trustee right up to his death . He worked with Hawaan Investments in building up a team of workers and taught them the intricacies of the forest, to respect its sturdy survival over time and to recognize those factors that inhibited its growth. The removal of alien plant infestation and the removal of snares which he stumbled into, were therefore manifest in his guidance on their work. The trustees salute Bills work and are gratified by the years he spent working with us and sitting on our Board.

 

Dr. Alastair Carnegie: ( 1928- 2014)- Alastair represented WESSA on our Trust from inception  to the end of 2013 . His gracious and soft demeanor and sound advice and direction were a meaningful contribution and was always relied on.

 

We give thanks to the memories of both the above persons.

 

We hope to expand on our website as time goes on and keep you updated with our flora and fauna and newsy articles.

 

In the meantime please also contribute to the archives of our information.... we look forward to hearing from you

 

Kind regards,

 

 

Pat Naicker
Founding Trustee 

 

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