In the not too distant past, Quail Island was known for its 24ha of neglected farmland. In 1997, the Quail Island Ecological Restoration Trust was established to restore the island to its former glory. Since then, the island has become a great example of what restoring a native forest can do for an ecosystem.
In 2016, with the help of Trees That Count, the Trust planted 2990 locally sourced native trees on the island, and with the support of our partner Kiwibank, we’ve been able to further support their planting vision providing the Trust with 2,500 natives to plant this year and 2,500 in 2018. Kiwibank staff also helped to plant some of the trees.
The Trust’s Chair, Ian McLennan, has been an active member since 2006. A draftsman by trade, Ian started his work on Quail Island as a volunteer planter. After planting his first manuka tree, he was hooked. For Ian, this labour of love is the Trust’s attempt to recreate the great Banks Peninsula forest from 1840s.
As the forest gets taller, people are starting to notice. On a good day in summer you can find close to 200 hundred people walking the trails. And if they're lucky they'll even hear the birdsong of the recently returned korimako (bellbird) and Kereru (woodpigeon).
After 20 years of vigorous planting, the island is looking lush. But due to the length of time it takes for saplings to grow, the complete reforestation of Quail Island is going to take centuries. And getting funding for planting has been an issue too. “We’re a charity,” say Ian, “so we rely on donations and grants to get the work done. We’ve really struggled with funding, so having Kiwibank’s support through Trees That Count is just fantastic.”