Friends of Rangikapiti’s planting season has come to a close and according to the team it’s been “richingly satisfying”. On a mission to restore 33ha of coastal forest between Monganui and Coopers Beach, this year has had two common themes, diversity and youth engagement.
John, one of the organisers of Friends of Rangikapiti, believes that when children are immersed in nature it “eventually awakens an urge in them to be a kaitiaki of the land”. So, when youth involvement rose this year, it was truly heartwarming for the group.
The planting season ran throughout Autumn and Winter. Events were held in a range of ecological zones, using an array of different native trees. Volunteers varied in age from 4 to 87. All in all, this diverse effort resulted in 1400 trees going into the ground, a truly amazing accomplishment.
This tree total is a result of 5 different events. In May the first planting took place, Ngati Kahu Youth Services, a group of 18-24 year olds looking to make a positive change toward work readiness, volunteered their time. It occurred around a stream, so only natives that could withstand damp conditions were used, such as Kauri, Kahikatea and Pukatea. On top of the mahi, it was an educational experience where the students learnt about natives and other significant landmarks in the area.
In June three ecological zones were tackled. One being a continuation on from last year, which occurred around the reserve’s pā. Kowhai featured heavily in the planting, along with turepo, akeake, cabbage tree and many other natives. The second zone was a wetland area, which was completed by homeschooling families children who ranged in age from 4 - 14. An older group of volunteers tackled the final zone, which involved planting on a steep north-facing slope. Flax, cabbage trees, wharangi and kowhai took over the show in this area.
To close the planting season Kohekohe Point, just above the eastern curve of Coopers Beach, was the final area to receive attention. Kowhai, hebe, toro, houhere, totara, tawapou, native broom and two kinds of flaxs championed this planting. The next step is to upgrade the muddy track meandering up through our planting with the intention of transforming this formerly weedy, difficult-to-find track into a beautiful and welcoming entrance into the reserve from the beach.
During each planting Friends of Rangikapiti uses eco-sourced plants and also puts emphasis on maintaining the biodiversity of the local area. With hope this will encourage birdlife to home in the reserve once again, planting is always done in mind of habitat creation. So Friends of Rangikapiti are increasing the native tree count and wildlife count too!
After this year’s planting efforts the total number of trees planted over the past 3 years is 4000. This is certainly no small accomplishment for a relatively sparsely populated area. With more plans in the pipeline, this 33ha coastal forest will be restored into a lush native bush in no time!!