The reserve was completely forested in pre-human times but, as with much of Banks Peninsula, the forest cover was severely reduced, especially after European settlement. The transformation from open pasture and gorse to native vegetation has occurred rapidly. The reserve includes 20 walking tracks open to the public, including part of the Banks Peninsula Track.
One-third of the reserve was burnt on 13 July 2011, possibly due to a lightning strike.
- Cronshaw, Tim (2008-02-22). "Return of the Natives". The Press.
- Wilson, Hugh (1994). "Regeneration of native forest on Hinewai Reserve, Banks Peninsula". New Zealand Journal of Botany 32: 373–383. doi:10.1080/0028825x.1994.10410480.
- Pīpipi (Maurice White Native Forest Trust). ISSN 1173-6674.
- "Peninsula native bush reserve ablaze". The Press. 13 July 2011. Retrieved 15 July 2011.
- Hugh Wilson, (2002) Hinewai: the journal of a New Zealand naturalist ISBN 1-877251-20-8