Te Ara Kākāriki finished up the 2021 planting season with a hardy group of volunteers on Sunday October 17th. Two groups of about 40 people braved rain and wind to plant native seedlings at two sites each to create native steppingstones to link the Canterbury foothills with Te Waihora / Lake Ellesmere and Banks Peninsula for native birds and wildlife.
The community event and some plants were funded by Central Plains Water and Selwyn District Council meaning lunches and buses could be provided making it easy for volunteers to get to the rural sites.
Jane and Bernard Duncan, along with their family, joined volunteers planting on their farm in Darfield where 600 seedlings including tōtara, manatu /ribbonwood and harakeke/flax were planted on a corner block. Full of stones, it was a difficult site to dig but the importance of doing so was obvious when looking around, as no other natives can be seen in any direction.
The group planted on the McKavanagh farm in Hororata in the afternoon, a wetland site where digging was much more enjoyable. 470 plants were planted including several carex varieties, pokaka and kahikatea. The planting was also a family effort with Leon and Bronwyn’s children and grandchildren helping out. Bronwyn told volunteers how the threatened Canterbury Mudfish had been found nearby and was being monitored regularly. The planting will help to protect that habitat.
A vibrant rainbow greeted the other group of volunteers as they arrived at the William’s Springfield site. 660 seedlings were planted here, just beside Lords Bush, an 8-hectare beech podocarp remnant. It was a particularly wet site underfoot but a pleasure to plant with the backdrop of mature trees being an example of the beautiful forest the small seedlings will become.
The group finished off the afternoon planting 300 seedlings at a Springfield farm site with a well-deserved sense of satisfaction and accomplishment.