Dead Rabbits Run

Extensive predator control over more than 12 years certainly shows what our native forests can return to with the love, care and diligence of kaitiaki like Anne and Derek.

Dead Rabbits Run was once a garden ravaged by introduced predators. 3.9 hectares of extensively grazed land was reclaimed when its current owners fenced the earthquake escarpment from sheep and allowed the undergrowth to flourish once again.



347 Underhill Rd

Toilet availableSales availableRefreshmentsBYO picnicBus

You may have guessed by the creative name for the property that trapping pests is a top priority and key to the regeneration of the native forest. Without the constant threat of being eaten, kawakawa and titoki thrived, kahikatea seedlings sprang up and the light canopy provided the perfect nursery for introduced plantings such as Derek’s native fern, flax and frond garden – inspired by Otari in Wellington. Acknowledging te ao Māori – the interconnectedness and interrelationship of all living and non-living things the circle of life is complete as the lush ferneries and mossy environments reclaim old decaying trees and nature’s rich natural compost of leaves gifted from the canopies above.

The bush walks are similar to those at Pūkaha – peaceful and serene, packed with natives growing in harmony with one another and plenty of bird life – common visitors are kererū, Korimako (bellbirds), tui and piwiakawaka.  It’s hard to imagine that a bustling township is only a few minutes away. 

Throughout this extensive property, you’ll see plants have been selected as fit for purpose and companionship creating layers building from small pops of colour to larger trees and bushes.  The shapes and contours are all complementary to the peaceful environment.  If you look carefully you’ll see that the majority of the planting also considers the birds and bees.  You’ll find roses, irises, clivias, camellias, peonies and kakabeak.  Rhododendrons, tall purple spires of echiums, hydrangeas (raspberry crush – all grown from cuttings).  Sage, rosemary, thyme and lavender are abundant in the garden at the front of the house.

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The patio rockery has a variety of New Zealand grasses, shrubbery, moss and wouldn’t be complete without the quintessential tī kōuka (New Zealand Cabbage Tree).
Anne and Derek are passionate conservationists, their dream of having a garden of flourishing natives attracting birds in a protected environment is realised in this beautiful property.

The Goodtimes food truck will be on-site to dazzle your taste buds as well as local Underhill Honey, (Manuka Honey harvested from the Tararua Ranges behind Dead Rabbits Run) and AJB Photography showcasing photographs of local landscapes and nature, nature paintings, jewellery and cards along with with some indoor and outdoor plants for sale.