Students Committed to Supporting Flora & Fauna in Taranaki

| By Lauree Jones, Enviroschools Regional Coordinator, Taranaki

Ready for pricking out small seedlings into bags.

Moturoa Primary School in New Plymouth, has developed an environmental programme over the last 24 years to rival anything available in Taranaki. They have done this on the smell of an oily rag and with a huge amount of support from local businesses and their wider community. The school is situated five minutes west of the city centre, under Paritutu Rock and next to Ngamotu Beach. It is also surrounded by beautiful native bush, known as Ngamotu Domain, and adjacent to the bustling Port of Taranaki. This provides not only a rich learning environment but a fantastic location for a wide variety of recreational activities.

“Together we believe in nurturing and developing the whole person. In the spirit of partnership and collaboration, we strive for excellence in education. We understand that our students learn best when they discover, explore and experiment and that learning extends beyond the classroom.” – Moturoa School


The school has its own propagation unit and is focusing on growing endangered plants from the ecological district. They are propagating a collection of significant local plants:

‘Paritutu Korokio’ (Corokia cotoneaster) a tangle-branched (divaricating) coastal shrub that occurs naturally in limited numbers on Paritutu rock; Pinatoro (Pimelea carnosa) a compact coastal plant from South Taranaki which is the primary host of a rare and threatened native moth; the threatened koheriki (Scandia rosifolia) which in Taranaki is only known to occur naturally in one remaining site;  Euphoria glauca, Hebe speciosa, Coprosma acerosa, Peperomia urvilleana and coastal sedge pingao (Ficinia spiralis).

Carefully transplanting one of the seedlings out in the reserve.

Students from as young as 5 years of age learn how to grow, nurture and plant these into various sites from Manaia in the south to Whitecliffs in the north. The school’s Environmental Study students have held public information sessions, showed visitors around the school gardens and educated visitors on their programme.

This plant propagation and relocation is a locally authentic programme which has support from Department of Conservation (DoC), New Plymouth District Council, Taranaki Regional Council (TRC) and local Iwi. Many volunteer hours, school fundraising and local business support help make this happen.

Coastal planting day.

Over the years, Moturoa has won TRC Environmental Awards and Trees for Survival Holyoake awards. Classes have worked with DoC and Taranaki Mounga growing mealworms for toutouwai/ North Island robins, and they are currently working with Towards Predator Free Taranaki to adopt a local park and manage rat traps in the area.

Moturoa School is a Green-Gold Enviroschool and they are consistently looking for ways to support their local environment.

The children worked enthusiastically and carefully planting out koheriki in various locations at the reserve. This special plant will now help build wild populations.

Students proudly show off healthy over 50 koheriki (Scandia rosifolia).

Healthy plants ready for transplanting.