Spades and shovels out for Kaikōura planting day to help transform local wetland

A strong turnout for a community planting day at a Kaikōura dairy farm has helped the landowners progress the wetland's three-year transformation.

Landowners Will and Chris Boyd and farm managers Shannon and Bonnie Ward run Silverbank Farm, at the foothills of Kaikōura’s Mt Fyffe.

A recent planting day saw community, local landowners, industry, and schools come together to connect, kōrero and preserve the wetland on the Boyds' farm.

Trust’s helping hand

Video of the Kaikōura wetland planting day

Video of the Kaikōura wetland planting day

The NZ Landcare Trust hosted the event, which was held at the end of May. It is working with the Boyds and Wards to look after this wetland, as part of its Managing Wetlands as Farm Assets programme.

It’s one of 14 sites between Kaikōura and Otematata the Trust is helping farmers protect and enhance. Environment Canterbury and Fonterra attended the planting day and are partners in the programme, alongside a range of other organisations.

The programme aims to work with farmers and the wider community to provide advice and share knowledge about the range of benefits both natural and constructed wetlands offer the farming system, environment, and community.

Wetland work

The part of the dairy farm the Trust has helped transform is a remnant wetland, which has existing tī kōuka/cabbage trees and grasses. An island located in the wetland was previously used for grazing, but the Boyds have since retired it in a bid to protect the wetland area and the species of plants within it.

Bird's eye view of the farm and planting day action

Bird's eye view of the farm and planting day action, looking south (credit: Fonterra)

Fencing has been completed around the wetland and now a successful planting day has helped get around 850 natives in the ground. Two sessions were held for this – with over 50 people in attendance overall.

These included community members, landowners/farmers, Environment Canterbury staff, the Department of Conservation, Fonterra, Kaikōura Water Zone Committee members, Forest and Bird, Landcare Trust representatives, and students from Kaikōura High School.

A variety of natives were planted including lemonwood, kahikatea, pōkākā, grasses, harakeke and toetoe.

Sedges will also be planted along the water course which will shade the water in the stream, helping with flow and water quality. Overland flow paths on the property flow into the wetland, where the native plantings will help filter and purify any runoff. More planting is planned for around the northern side of the wetland in future.

More hands make light work

Kaikōura Suburban School children

Kaikōura Suburban School children

A group of year five and six students from Kaikōura Suburban School also helped with the planting effort. The 16 children along with three staff members, three mothers, and our land management advisor Peter Bradshaw came to the Boyds' property on a separate day and installed 200 CombiGuards on the plants.

Trust project coordinator Tony Watson said the children were real troopers.

“They had the CombiGuards on in no time and were genuinely loving helping out,” he said.

“Some of the Boyds and their children have attended the school so it was so special to have them come help out,” he added.

The students were briefed on the background of the wetland, benefits of having wetlands, and the importance of having good water quality.

“It was a great opportunity to plant that seed of knowledge in our future generation,” Tony said.

Farmers wanting to make a difference

Will and Chris are the third generation of the family to be farming at Silverbank, and they’ve been doing so for around 28 years.

“It’s been a really good family home and farm,” Chris said.

She said their intentions with the project is to pay it forward.

“We just want to do what’s good for everyone and the land. Being dairy farmers, and having worked on the land, it’s nice to be able to give a section back to the environment,” Chris said.

“We want to look after the land and environment for future generations. We’re so thankful for the support the Trust has given us with this project and all those that have helped with the planting day,” she added.

Support crucial

Tony said fencing costs were supported by the project, as were native plants which were sourced from a local nursery grower.

“We are happy to support this initiative and excited to see what an asset it becomes to the community in the future,” he said.

Tony said the planting day couldn’t have gone better.

“It was such a success; after a planting demonstration from the nurseryman, everyone worked incredibly efficiently to get the plants in the ground. I can't thank the community enough, especially those that travelled to join us on the day. Lunch was well earned,” he said.

Helpful links

For more information, check out the following links: