Who better to drive a busload of people to Bushy Park Tarapuruhi on its special day than a man with a lifetime connection to the place?

On September 14 Ian Brown will be the volunteer driving a Tranzit bus to the forest sanctuary for the opening of its new visitor centre. The bus will leave the Whanganui War Memorial Centre at 10.30am and get back at 3.30pm. The return fare is $5.

It will park close to the action, saving its passengers a walk, and Brown will help people in and stow away equipment.

Entry is free and the visitor centre will be officially opened at 2pm. But visitors on this "take a fresh look" occasion will also be able to tour the forest and homestead, buy lunch or a Devonshire tea or have a picnic in the grounds.


Brown was happy to volunteer his services because he likes to keep busy - and also because he has a lifelong connection with the place.

He was born on the property where the park's donor, GF Moore, was born. It's in nearby Bushy Park Rd. His father farmed that property and Brown spent the first 30 years of his life there.

"I used to go [to Bushy Park] with Dad to do a few jobs for Mr Moore," he said.

Later he bought his own farm in nearby Pukerimu Rd. Then, starting around the early 2000s, Brown served on the Bushy Park Trust for 14 years and has chaired it several times.

He's not on the trust now, but still looks after the cattle on the unforested part of the property. They earn the sanctuary $16,000 to $18,000 a year, he said.

Some are donated and others bought. Fertiliser companies, fertiliser spreader Sanford and weed spraying contractor Peko donate their goods and services or give discounts.

Brown also likes the place, now known as Bushy Park Tarapuruhi.

"I like the historic connection. I like the bush and I like the birds. With the money that's been spent on the homestead and stables and a lot of improvements done, it's a pretty sharp spot," he said.


++ The bus trip can be booked online at the @BushyParkTarapuruhi Facebook page, or by emailing nicola@nicolapatrick.com or ringing 027 871 6459.