2 million trees target nears

25 October 2019

A small group of hardy volunteers clambered up a steep slope on the Town Belt above Newtown yesterday (Thursday) to do their valuable bit towards the restoration of Wellington’s native biodiversity.

Volunteers posing after planting trees above Newtown.

The volunteers, gathered together by Conservation Volunteers NZ, also marked the final day of this year’s planting season by planting the last of the total of 15,000 trees and shrubs planted by CVNZ in Wellington City this year.

These plantings are a major contribution to the total of 114,333 native trees and shrubs planted in reserves around the city this year by volunteers and Wellington City Council staff.

And we’re moving rapidly towards the Council’s target of 2 million native trees planted around the city.

Council Environmental Partnership Leader Tim Park says this year we got close to planting 1.8 million trees in total since the 2 million-trees target was set in 1997. He says we should hit the target in the next couple of years. “Most of these plants were planted by volunteers working in reserves across the city.

“Their massive commitment and energy is making a huge difference to Wellington’s ecosystems. Collectively we are rewilding Wellington and the results are becoming more and more part of everyday life for Wellingtonians.”

Yesterday’s planting was in Vice Regal Park – east of Wellington Hospital and bordering Government House. CVNZ Project Officer Natalie Jones says a variety of native trees, grown at the CVNZ nursery, such as mānuka, kānuka and coprosmas were planted by a cosmopolitan group of volunteers.

Natalie says the planting area was formerly a “jungle” of blackberry until it was cleared by Council Parks, Sport and Recreation staff last year. “It’s wonderful seeing people from all walks of life coming together to restore Wellington’s biodiversity.

“I’ve personally seen the return of native birds to this Vice Regal Park area as the trees we’ve planted in recent years have grown and flourished.”

CVNZ is managing the delivery of the Forest in the Heart of Wellington project – an initiative by the Rotary Club of Wellington to celebrate its centennial, supported by the City Council and funded by the Ministry of Primary Industry’s Matariki Tu Rākau programme that commemorates fallen soldiers.

Several other big joint planting projects have been completed this year including 8000 seedlings planted as part of the Trees that Count initiative in the Erlestoke Reserve in Churton Park. The planting was in a section of the outer green belt and aims to establish forest in an area otherwise dominated by bare pasture.