Monday, December 11, 2023

“Baigent’s Bush: A Loved and Nurtured area of Nature - Generously Gifted to the Community by the Baigent Family.”


At the official handover ceremony of Baigent’s Bush from left to right: Richard Hilton Team Leader Reserves Operations, Deputy Mayor Stuart Bryant, Waimea-Moutere ward Councillor Mike Kinninmonth, Waimea-Moutere ward Councillor Dan Shallcrass, Barbara Cameron(nee Baigent), Paul Baigent, Mary Baigent, Evan Baigent, Waimea-Moutere ward Councillor Christeen Mackenzie.

Photo Tim O’Connell, Communications Officer, Tasman District Council.

“Baigent’s Bush: A Timeless Legacy Unveiled for the Community on 7 December 2023 from Generations Past to Generations to Come”

For the past 180 years, the esteemed Baigent family, synonymous with Wakefield's rich history, has bestowed a remarkable gift upon the people of Tasman—a sprawling nine-hectare haven known as Baigent’s Bush, nestled near Pigeon Valley.

With roots that trace back to Edward Baigent's arrival in Wakefield in 1843, the Baigent family has cultivated a legacy that now extends beyond familial bounds. Two years ago, they made a momentous decision to share their cherished piece of land with the wider community, a gesture that transcends generations.

Baigent’s Bush, once a landscape hosting a farm, tennis and croquet courts, water race, and hop gardens, has witnessed the ebbs and flows of community life—from pony clubs to picnics. The property has been a witness to history, and now, it stands as a living testament to the family's commitment to fostering community well-being.

Over the past two years, the Reserves and Facilities team of the Tasman District Council has meticulously prepared the woodland area for public enjoyment, implementing measures such as weed control, perimeter fencing, and informative signage. The area, adorned with new plantings, is also home to ancient native trees, including tōtara, mānuka, and kahikatea, some of which are believed to be over 500 years old.

Baigent's Bush handed over to the Community on 7 December 2023. Photo Tim O’Connell, Communications Officer, Tasman District Council.

The official handover ceremony on December 7 marked a significant moment, with members of at least three generations of the Baigent family, Tasman Deputy Mayor Stuart Bryant, Moutere-Waimea Ward Councillors, and Council staff in attendance. Deputy Mayor Bryant expressed gratitude for the family's generosity in opening the reserve to the public, emphasising the substantial gift it represents to the community.

In 2024, the Council District Council will initiate a formal consultation process to classify the land as a Scenic Reserve under the Reserves Act, solidifying its status as a protected natural treasure for the community today and for generations to come.

New tree planting has been done by the Reserves and Facilities Team of the Tasman District Council in Baigent's Bush. Photo Tim O’Connell, Communications Officer, Tasman District Council.

Brothers Paul and Evan Baigent, representing the fifth generation to work on the land, fondly recalled their upbringing and acknowledged the rich history embedded in each corner of the bush. Paul highlighted the passing down of love and respect for the bush through generations, creating "a home and a tranquil gathering point for family members."

Paul expressed that the decision to gift the land was a culmination of his parents' lifelong love for the bush. Noel and Joyce Baigent's vision was to protect this natural haven for future generations, leaving their children in a position to make this enduring gift—a legacy to Wakefield.

As the community looks forward to the future of Baigent’s Bush, a survey has been launched to gather ideas on potential developments in the area. This, coupled with the ongoing Reserve Management Plans review for Richmond and Murchison wards, invites public participation and input at Baigent’s Bush stands not only as a testament to the past but as a living, breathing gift that will be cherished by generations to come.

Source: Tasman District Council Communications Team.

Pigeon Post News. 

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