Community plant nursery sprouts new life in Wainuiomata

  • Published Date 06 Aug 2021
  • Author Ali Kaye

Greater Wellington, along with project partners Forest and Bird, has opened the doors to a new native plant nursery in Wainuiomata Recreation Reserve.

The nursery was built by volunteers from Forest and Bird to house native seedlings that will be used for restoration projects in the local area.

“It all started with a conversation,” says Councillor Prue Lamason, Greater Wellington Parks Portfolio Leader, “When our park ranger Ricky learned that Forest and Bird’s lease was about to run out on their plant nursery in Highbury, he stepped in and offered up a space to build a new one within the Recreation Reserve.”

The offer was eagerly taken up by the volunteers, who quickly got to work building a nursery on the site over four months. The construction effort was led by Chris Streatfield, manager of Forest and Bird’s Wellington-based Nursery. He was helped by Peter Hunt, who coordinated the effort and arranged consents and legal documents, and Gary James, who created the nursery operating manual which ensures critical biosecurity requirements are met. Ranger Ricky was a constant throughout the construction, providing advice and support as the nursery took form.

Mr Streatfield says they are delighted with the location, which will enhance their revegetation and restoration work in this park and beyond.

The nursery will hold up to twelve thousand native seedlings, including Kahikatea, Matai, Miro, Rewarewa, Rimu, Carex, Coprosma and more. 

Cr Lamason adds, “The plants will start their life right here, so we know that they’ll suit life right here.”

Al Cross, General Manager of Environment, says that the spirit of this mahi aligns perfectly with Toitū Te Whenua Parks Network Plan, Greater Wellington’s recently endorsed ten-year management plan for its regional parks which sets the direction for their evolution over the next decade.

“It’s a real pleasure to see Toitū Te Whenua Parks Network Plan in action with this project. We’re lucky to have forward-thinking rangers like Ricky in our parks, who are always looking for ways to strengthen connections with our community and uplift the essential work of groups like Forest and Bird, who are key to the operation of our parks,” he says. 

The plan has climate action at its core through restoration work in partnership with mana whenua and community volunteers. Implementing the plan will, over time, deliver multiple benefits including better quality freshwater, and improved biodiversity, adaptive reuse of park buildings and landscape amenity improvements for recreation activities.

Cr Lamason says it’s fantastic to be able to support community groups, like Forest and Bird, that do so much for our region.

“Greater Wellington is responsible for managing 33,000 hectares of regional parks – but we can’t, and don’t, do it alone. Without folk like Forest and Bird, we simply wouldn’t have these areas to preserve, protect and enjoy together. What they do is for the benefit of the whole community, so we’re extremely grateful and thrilled to be able to support them.”

The new nursery’s manager is Forest and Bird’s Gary James. People interested in volunteering at the nursery or getting involved in restoration projects with Forest and Bird can contact Gary on mistletoe1957@gmail.com

Updated October 12, 2021 at 4:25 PM

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