Trust celebrates 100,000 native trees planted in Selwyn

Glentunnel school students joined Minister for Conservation Eugenie Sage, Selwyn Mayor Sam Broughton and other leaders last week to celebrate an important environmental milestone for the Selwyn region – the planting of Te Ara Kākāriki’s 100,000th native seedling.

The planting was held at Joyce Reserve, which provides a recreation area alongside State Highway 77 as it passes through Glentunnel beside the Waikirikiri / Selwyn River.

Years of planting have created an area with a mix of mature and young natives.

Leaders mark an important anniversary

Te Ara Kākāriki Canterbury Greenway Trust co-Chair and Environment Canterbury Councillor, Craig Pauling, greeted students and guests and spoke of more than 10 years of efforts to increase the less than one percent of native vegetation on the Canterbury plains.

Minister Sage and Cr Pauling addressing guests

Minister Sage and Cr Pauling addressing students and guests

Minister Sage was aided by students as she planted seedling number 100,000 – a tōtara.

Sage told students that the trees that they are planting will endure for centuries.

“They acknowledge what we are today, what we’re restoring, helping papatūānuku thrive so we can be healthy as well,” she said.

Mayor Broughton thanked Glentunnel School for caring for the site, and Te Ara Kākāriki for organising plant-outs across the district.

“Today I’m really proud with the investment that, as a community, Selwyn District Council has been able to make with other organisations that have a heart for this land,” he said.

Creating greendots

Greendot planting site at Glentunnel's Joyce Reserve

Planting site at Glentunnel's Joyce Reserve

Te Ara Kākāriki’s goal is to establish a network of “greendots” around the region.

Researchers have concluded that planting patches of native forest ecosystems in urban and rural environments can improve biodiversity without compromising commercial goals.

More than 90 greendots have already been planted through the Selwyn District, with a focus on sites between the Waikirkiri / Selwyn and Waimakariri rivers, to create a special biodiversity corridor.

This season the Trust will plant greendot site number 100.

Public and school plant-outs

Earlier this year, we granted $9,180 in Immediate Steps funding for three school plant-outs, on the recommendation of the Selwyn Waihora Water Zone Committee.

Those schools – West Rolleston Primary, Tai Tapu School and Ladbrooks School – are each helping to plant and monitor a greendot site near their school.

Ladbrooks School was granted funding to plant around the remainder of Sharpes Drain, which runs through the school property.

An Immediate Steps grant from last year also funded a public planting day at Stackwoods Bend on the Huritini / Halswell River in August. This planting, which had been delayed due to COVID-19 restrictions, allowed the community to share the project with the school. So far 400 metres of riverbank has been planted at the greendot.

Tai Tapu and West Rolleston schools will be holding Kids Discovery Plant-out Days – a collaboration between the Enviroschools programme and Te Ara Kākāriki – where they will learn about native biodiversity, bird and plant life.

Minister Sage and Cr Pauling aiding Glentunnel students with planting

Glentunnel students help with planting

West Rolleston will establish a native planting area on school property, while Tai Tapu School will be planting at a site on the banks of the Huritini / Halswell River, close to Stackwoods Bend.

Get involved

Te Ara Kākāriki has just held two public planting days in Selwyn this September. The next public plant-out will be held on Saturday, 3 October in West Melton.

More information on plant-outs can be found on the Te Ara Kākāriki website.