Issues & projects

Environmental issues and work to protect Wellington's reserves.

The large areas of land in the Town Belt and Outer Green Belt are an important resource for Wellington. Most areas are readily accessible and used by many people for recreation. They are also vital for conservation and biodiversity restoration.


Restoration projects

Vegetation on the Town Belt and Outer Green Belt ranges from exotic pine forest and grassed recreation areas to native bush and regenerating shrubland.

Each year the Council plants around 45,000 eco-sourced native trees from Berhampore Nursery to help restore a healthy environment for people and for nature.

We also provide around 30,000 plants to individuals and community groups that are restoring the beauty and nature of local reserves.

Free Plants

Community groups

There more than 60 community groups in Wellington working to restore their local parks and reserves through plant and animal pest control and native planting. The Council can help with pest control and provide free plants. If you are interested in this kind of project, see:


The Council is working with Greater Wellington and the QE2 Trust to identify and protect private small bush remnants outside the Town Belts. They work cooperatively with landowners.

Weed control

Weeds threaten our natural environment in many ways. They can smother and kill native plants, shade them out and out-compete them.

Stop Weeds brochure (788KB PDF)

They alter the habitat and behaviour of native wildlife, reducing food sources and breeding sites.

Weeds can be a fire hazard and interfere with recreational land use.

The Council spends a lot of money each year on weed control. The main focus is on sites of high conservation value in coastal, forest and aquatic habitats.

Weed control is also required for amenity and recreation purposes such as maintaining tracks and parks, sportsfields and play areas. The Council's other programmes include:

  • city-wide control of Old Man's Beard and banana passionfruit
  • controlling Darwin's barberry, climbing asparagus, and new / emerging weeds
  • encouraging community initiatives
  • rehabilitating sites where exotic trees have been removed
  • maintaining fencelines and boundaries.

Weed spraying

Council contractors will be spraying weeds throughout the city from now until the end of June 2016. The following areas will be sprayed: 

  • road reserve
  • hard surfaces and central berms – streets, footpaths, gutters and access ways
  • road reserve, soft surface banks
  • tracks within the Town Belt and Outer Green Belt
  • Council reserves, amenity areas and key native ecosystems
  • sports turf – fields and selected reserves
  • boat ramp/slipway (algae spraying).

Garden dumping

Unfortunately, some people use the Town Belt and reserves as a dumping ground for garden waste. Garden dumping spreads weeds into parks and reserves and smothers regenerating native seedlings.

Garden dumping is prohibited on the Town Belt and any other reserve land - anyone found dumping garden waste will be prosecuted under city bylaws.

The best ways to dispose of garden waste are in compost bins at home, hiring a wheelie bin or bag, and as green waste at landfills.


Animal pests

Possums and their feeding habits are hugely destructive to native flora and fauna.

The Council, in partnership with Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC), runs a significant possum-control programme covering nearly 4,800 hectares of private and public land in Wellington city. This work was started in 1996 and also helps to control rats and mice.

In recent years, there has been a noticeable increase in the number of native birds such as tui and kereru seen around the city and recorded in official surveys.

The Council, through GWRC, works with community volunteers in areas such as Makara Peak and Redwood Bush by helping to provide bait and traps.

For more information on becoming an animal pest control volunteer:

Animal Pest Control Volunteers

Wild goats and pigs are controlled in areas such as Ngauranga Gorge, Makara Peak and the Outer Green Belt.

Goats and pigs consume native vegetation, alter habitats, spread weeds and cause erosion.

Controlling Wild Goats

Mustelid control is now improving, largely due to the efforts of volunteers and additional Council funding. This work is important to reduce the numbers of stoats, weasels and ferrets preying on native animals.

Introduced birds such as rooks, pest fish such as koi carp, feral cats and rabbits are all included in the Council's pest management activities.

A key focus of the animal-pest programme is the reserves around Karori Sanctuary so that there is protection for birds that move beyond the perimeter fence. With the addition of a new possum control project near the Southern Landfill, all reserves around the Sanctuary are now protected.

More information

Senior Park Ranger or Pest Management Officer

Phone:  (04) 499 4444

Pest Management Officer

Phone:  (04) 803 8357