Castle Hill

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    The people of Ngai Tahu named the area Kura Tawhiti and there you can find 500-year-old charcoal carvings from the Waitaha people. Kura Tawhitit means "treasure from a distant land" and refers to the kumara that was grown in the area. Here you can find limestone formations making up a karst landscape that have been carved by water and date back to the Oligocene. Limestone is made up of layers of organic sediment deposited in oceans. 30 million years ago this area was under water (like much of Zealandia was) but was later subject to uplift.
    In the 1950s this reserve was set up as an effort by Dr. Lance McCaskill to protect the Castle Hill buttercup. Due to recent research it is believed by some that this buttercup is not its own species that is found only in this area but is actually the same as a buttercup found elsewhere. However this reserve has helped protect the habitat of the Castle Hill forget-me-not Myosotis colensoi of the family Boraginaceae which is endemic to the NE of the South Island. The main threats to this plant are from weeds and trampling and grazing by livestock.

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