News | 7 September 2021
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Community heroes in conservation: Joakim Liman

Pōneke recently celebrated the planting of its two millionth native plant, following a 20-year programme involving Wellington City Council staff and thousands of community volunteers.

Conservation Week/Te Wiki Tiaki Ao Tūroa is happening 4–12 September, so we’re highlighting some of the awesome people who have contributed to making our wonderful city greener.

Three men on a grassy hill, wearing matching black hoodies with restoration group Te Motu Kairangi braded on the backs of them, overlooking Wellington hills masked in low-lying cloud on a blue-sky day.

Meet Joakim Liman. Joakim leads Te Motu Kairangi – Miramar Ecological Restoration. Working in partnership with Wellington City Council and local landlords, Joakim and the group’s other volunteers have slowly been transforming the reserve areas of Te Motu Kairangi, Miramar Peninsula. We caught up with Joakim to find out more about his mahi and passion for nature.

How did you get involved in conservation?

I’ve been interested in nature and wildlife since I was a kid. I always enjoyed creating different environments like building ponds in my backyard, exploring new habitats, and educating others through doing things like writing signs for the neighbourhood about interesting plant species on road reserves.

Growing up, I noticed nature around me disappearing – giving way to roads, housing, and other forms of development. I felt a desire to save the environments I appreciated spending time in as a kid. That led me into the conservation field.

A selfie of a young man who looks to be in his 30s, wearing a black cap and dark green jacket, in a bush setting nestled in between branches and leaves of a kohekohe tree.

What’s your specific interest/how do you contribute?

Nowadays I run my own ecological restoration community group on a volunteer basis, with a focus on restoring coastal forest and their ecosystems. We plant everything from trees and shrubs to vines and grasses to provide a safe place for wildlife that would naturally call it home.

Raising awareness in our community about our local environment is another priority. I do talks and presentations with schools, as well as backyard visits, to help bring our native wildlife closer to an urban environment.

My day job is with Predator Free Wellington, working in Greater Wellington Regional Council’s pest animals team. Removing introduced mammalian predators is a big part of restoring our forests.

What motivates you to do this mahi?

Wanting to restore something that has been lost. Seeing the positive changes and results is what drives me to continue this work.

About 35 people of all ages spread across a grassy road reserve with shovels as they work hard to plant native flaxes beside bushland.

What do you hope to achieve?

My aim is to show people that they can make a difference themselves. Everyone has the power to change something for the better. Through raising awareness about the flora and fauna, we can incorporate this into our own backyards. We can make nature flourish and live amongst it, rather than be separated from it.

Ways to get involved in conservation in your community