Restoration to Avoca Valley ecosystem

Restoring the Avoca Valley catchment from top to bottom has been the vision of the Summit Road Society which embarked on the ambitious multi-year project back in 2021.

The Valley, once cloaked in lowland forest was a haven for wildlife with the Heathcote stream flowing strongly through it, supporting native fish along the way.

Since 2021, the Summit Road Society has worked in partnership with Ngāti Wheke, local residents, agencies and community groups to plant more than 44,000 native trees to reestablish and protect the native forest which is now nationally rare and threatened.

Project achievements

Mahinga kai/mahika kai and water quality in the local and wider catchment of the Ōpawaho-Heathcote River and Estuary has also been improved under the restoration programme, with native biodiversity (birds, reptiles, invertebrates and aquatic fauna) enhanced as the vegetation establishes and expands and predator control gets underway.

"From the outset of the project, our support and commitment to providing a total of $81,000 in funding over the past three financial years has been crucial," says Marie Gray of the Summit Road Society.

"This has allowed us to secure additional financial and logistical support from a wide range of sources including Jobs for Nature, Christchurch City Council and many other funders."

The project supports our water management strategy and the Christchurch West Melton zone committee goals to protect biodiversity, mahinga kai and water quality in the Ōpawaho catchment.

Future plans for the Avoca Valley

With the Department of Conservation Jobs for Nature Funding ending in September this year, that doesn't mean the work is done.

Planting will continue with maintenance of the thousands of existing plants taking priority along with other activities including predator trapping, research and the further development of the track network focusing on the Harakeke Track.

Read the latest Summit Road Society newsletter for updates on the project and other Summit Road Society conservation projects.