Clifton Recreation Reserve, Golden Bay
The Clifton Recreation Reserve covers an impressive 45 hectares on a low-lying spit across the Motupipi Estuary, west of Pohara in Golden Bay.
- Golf course
The Reserve is home to the nine-hole Takaka Golf Course and has been since 1962, when the land was leased to the Club by the Department of Lands and Survey. The part of the reserve that the course was built on was known locally as the Cherry Island Reserve because of the masses of wild cherry trees that grew there. The Rototai end of the golf course had been favoured by local Maori as a great spot to grow potatoes and kumara. It was also a popular camping place for families in the 1930's. However all that changed once the Takaka Golf Club secured its lease. The Club set about clearing 36 hectares of gorse lupin and manuka scrub. The pioneering spirit and dedication of Takaka Golf Club members over the years means the course is now in excellent grass and offers very good playing conditions.
Also making up part of the reserve is the historic Clifton Cemetery, a site of great significance to both Maori and Pakeha. It was the area's local importance that meant it was vested in Council as a Recreation Reserve in 1991.
The land for the hospital cemetery, as it was meant to become, was set aside when Clifton, then known as Waiwera, was surveyed in 1842.
Despite all the surveying Clifton never did blossom into a town but the cemetery was put to use. It is estimated that upwards of 150 people are buried there but many of the graves are unmarked. Some of these unmarked graves are for local Maori, some for the Europeans. Wateno, Rawiri, Mitchell, Raharon and Elliot are just a few of the local families whose ancestors were the earliest arrivals at the cemetery. The oldest marked headstone in the Clifton Cemetery is that of Agnes Gibson who died 14 February 1866. The cemetery was run by a series of Trustees and caretakers but has now been closed for some time. Only very occasionally have burials been held there to allow family members to rest in peace along side each other. At the celebration of 150 years of European settlement in the Clifton-Motupipi area in 1992 a memorial was unveiled that recognises the unmarked graves in the cemetery.
Alongside the cemetery, lovely picnic areas have been established so people can pause to enjoy the serenity the Clifton Recreation reserve can offer. There is also a spacious mown area for dog walking, impromptu games and family fun.
There's a wide variety of insect and bird life to be found in the area. With the rare Katipo spider and a threatened species of carabid beetle, being a couple worthy of note. There are also important wader bird roosting and breeding habitats in the area including a habitat for the banded rail.