Members of the community help establish native plantings in various areas to help encourage native birds back to the region

Landowners plant for future

by Ann van Engelen

Team members of Te Ara Kakariki and volunteers joined together for a native planting day at Tai Tapu recently as they commit to regenerating a positive environmental habitat to encourage native birds back to the Canterbury region.

“Based in Selwyn, Te Ara Kakariki Trust was formed in 2009 as a result of the realisation that there was less than one per cent of natural forest remaining in Canterbury. Below 20 per cent is classed as critical,” says Te Ara Kakariki coordinator Letitia Lum.

The first year saw 1,000 plants planted and last year the group established 20,000.

“Most of our plants and the land are provided by property owners. These people are so generous in setting aside a portion of their land for native plant re-establishment. Everyone is thinking about the future and generations to come.”

Property owners allow a minimum of 1,100 square metres to be turned into a native area to attract the native birds like tui and kakariki. An ecologist writes a restoration plan considering factors such as the soil and soil type and the local environment is considered.

“This is generally a round, square or triangle piece of land and fits 500 plants. Landowners can apply for our help through the Te Ara Kakariki website.

“We couldn’t achieve what we do without the landowners’ contribution.

They are inspiring us by providing a mixture of waterways, round or square sites as this gives better habitats for birds. A corner of a paddock where the irrigator doesn’t reach or land that is too wet to be efficient is perfect for the cause.

“We also have a school programme, and they do bird and insect counts. We keep records of plants and photo points — it is a cool thing to be a part of. A site we planted three years at Stackwoods Bend has very noticeable environmental differences.

“Recently volunteers joined us to plant in Tai Tapu, Hororata and West Melton. For more information, visit the Te Ara Kakariki Facebook page.”