Rimutaka Forest Park is a magnificent area of mostly native forest in the hills east of New Zealand's capital city, Wellington. It encompasses the Rimutaka Ranges and the Orongorongo River, just north of the spectacular earthquake terraces and seal colony at the Turakirae Head Scientific Reserve. The park is characterised by steep, bush-clad hills and narrow fern-filled valleys cut by abundant freshwater streams and the beautiful Orongorongo River.
The Rimutaka Forest Park Charitable Trust is a non-profit organisation committed to protecting and restoring the park’s unique flora and fauna. Its Catchpool Restoration Plan envisages the restoration of a retired logging area, streamside and wetland planting to reduce flooding and erosion and ensure clean water for native fish species, establishing ridge plants alongside proposed tracks to further encourage wildlife and provide a range of vegetation necessary for ecological diversity, and increased opportunities for the community to be involved and engaged in conservation.
Trees That Count funded the planting of 1,000 native trees in 2016. Corporate volunteer teams from the BNZ, Treasury, BNP Paribas, IAG and Contact Energy planted the trees in a number of restoration planting zones throughout the Catchpool Valley during August, September and October. Seedlings included Northern rata, kanuka, cabbage tree, totara, tawa, kahikatea, pigeonwood, rewarewa and wineberry. A team of senior students from Chilton St James School also gave up a precious day of their weekend to plant another 260 trees.
Hundreds of other smaller plants including toetoe and flax were dug in as well, mixed up with the larger trees, inserted into appropriate microhabitat zones.