3000 native trees were planted on Mount Kakepuku, 7 km south of Te Awamutu, with funding from Trees that Count in 2016. The plantings were on an area of recently acquired land (4.9ha) gifted by Jan and Laurie Hoverd, two local conservationists who have been very active in the district. Jan and Laurie helped to begin efforts to restore the mountain in the 1990s, and wanted the site to become part of the larger reserve so that hopefully one day it could be restored and provide habitat for native birds.
The site is on a very steep part of the mountain adjoining the reserve administered by Waipa District Council and the Department of Conservation. It was fenced and aerially sprayed for gorse and barberry before planting. Some parts of the site need further weed control before planting, but it is planned that eventually the site will have a variety of native species, recruitment of other native species will occur and weed control will be minimal.
Puniu River Care, a local marae based trust provided the plants from their nursery and a group from the marae did the planting of 2000 plants in June and 500 in September. Planners from Waipa District Council also planted 500 plants as part of a community service day. The majority of the trees planted were manuka and kanuka, especially around the top of the site at the ridgeline, and more sensitive species were planted towards the bottom of the gully, including Coprosma robusta and Hebe stricta.