The Riverlea suburb of Hamilton, New Zealand, is home to residential housing, an industrial area and a stunning patch of native bush that is Hamilton’s most diverse forest remnant.

The Riverlea Environment Society Incorporated (RESI) is a not-for-profit group run by volunteers. Our objectives are to protect and enhance the environmental and other amenity values of our local area.

We do this by:

  • restoring our local bush remnant in Hammond Park with monthly working bees and regular pest control. These tasks are done hand-in-hand with local government
  • engaging with local government on matters of town planning and resource consent processes that we feel will impact the environmental and amenity values of the area
  • being part of Project Echo, a movement to protect the native long-tailed bat (pekapeka), a threatened species
  • involving the wider community via email, Facebook and a newsletter that is delivered to all Riverlea houses.

Come and visit Hammond Park

Hammond Park is a beautiful place to visit, with riverside beaches and a boardwalk through native bush. It is home to the rare long-tailed bat, tui, kereru, eels, glow worms and the rare swamp Maire tree. A great way to see it is to take one of the Waikato Museum’s night tours, during which you can search for bats and see glow worms. Our society has a bat monitor to lend out. The monitor converts the echolocation calls of bats to a frequency that human ears can hear. Contact Robert on 858 2314 to arrange to borrow the monitor.

Why we do it

We want to restore a small part of Hamilton to its former glory, which included abundant native vegetation and wildlife. Walking through beautiful natural areas is good for the body and mind. The process of pursuing this aim has created a special sense of community in Riverlea, making it a better place to live.

Our history

Campaigning: Our society formed in 2007 when our community faced the possibility of an air discharge consent being granted to a company that wanted to build an asphalt plant on the industrial land bordering Riverlea. Over 500 submissions were made opposing the consent. The Waikato Regional Council commissioned an assessment of the site’s suitability for an asphalt plant, which concluded that the site was unsuitable. The asphalt company, Blacktop Construction Ltd, withdrew its application. Riverlea Environment Society celebrates this, and thanks BlackTop for listening to the community.

In 2013 the society played an active role in the Hamilton City Council’s District Plan review. When submissions were called for, we engaged a planner and a lawyer, and guided our community towards making a large number of submissions aimed at preventing heavy or dirty industry being allowed to operate in the Riverlea Industrial Area. Our submissions were heard, and in 2014 the District Plan provisions were changed to make it clear that heavy or offensive industry is not appropriate in the Riverlea area.

Environmental Restoration

Thanks to our work, and the support of local governments, the bush in Hammond Park has changed enormously. Large areas of weeds have been removed, new plantings have been made, and the difference is huge. Working bees are held on the last Saturday of every month, to further improve the health of the bush.


“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.” Dr Seuss, The Lorax.