News and Events

Student led restoration helps cloak Te Upoko o te Ika a Māui

March 30, 2023

In the Wellington Region, the 2022 1BT funding through the partnership between Te Uru Rākau and Toimata Foundation was directed to a wide range of student-led restoration mahi across the region.

Wairarapa College – waterway restoration.

Students from the school’s Environmental Hapori Group have been involved in learning and action around waterway restoration. This has involved taking time to connect with local waterways, water monitoring, considering the value of planting trees in climate action, and learning about different native plant species.  Students planted around 30 additional trees and shrubs to support existing riparian planting.

Solway College – tree planting to regenerate and protect.

The Pittosporum trees planted using this funding were to help protect six beautiful pūriri trees from frost damage they would have been subjected to if left unprotected.  Pūriri  trees do not grow naturally in the Wairarapa and are too frost sensitive to normally cope with the conditions. Planting the Pittosporums has managed to protect three of the six pūriri, the remainder may not survive.  Students learned that planting natives in a place where they would not normally be found has an impact on their survival and increases the need for human intervention to an intensity that is unlikely to be sustainable.  In addition to these Pittosporum trees, akeake, harakeke and horopito were also planted in the area.

“It is good to get outdoors and give a helping hand to the environment and planting trees can be fun and it has lots of benefits. The birds love to eat all of the berries. They give oxygen to humans and life on earth and take in all the carbon dioxide. If you take care of them well, they will live to grow for a long time. And make sure you know your research first because some trees are sensitive to frost and the cold and some like more sun than others. Doing it with your friends can be a lot more fun and you plant more. That’s why you should love to plant trees!”  By Victoria, Solway student.


September Bee Awareness Month and Conservation Week.

The Wairarapa Enviroschools network were offered manuka to plant in their school grounds for Conservation week linking into bee awareness month. The nine schools that took up this opportunity were Dalefield School, Te Kura Kaupapa o Wairarapa, Hadlow School, Opaki School, Chanel College, Greytown School, Carterton School, Just Us Kids ECE, and Whareama School.  In total 300 trees were planted.

Gladstone School – further development of a restoration project.

Gladstone School has continued to regenerate their embankment – this has been a long-term project with many previous plantings. The last one also incorporated celebrating their mana whenua ancestors. The embankment care, use and planting is looked after by the Ruamahanga hub of tairua from years 4 to 6.  Total approx. 150 trees planted in 2022.

Whareama School  – Rongoā Māori plantings.

1BT funds were used for planting a rongoā area that was previously covered in blackberry.  The tauira have been involved in learning about landscapes and how people can change them.  They have actively participated in a dam being established for water resiliency on the neighbouring farm.  This includes helping to plant up wetlands that were part pf the dam development.  In an act of reciprocity,  farmer got the digger operator building the dam to clear the blackberry patch at the school.  Whareama School has a close relationship with their local marae and have had many visits over the years. Tauira helped with plantings at the marae as well.

Upper Hutt – Māwai Hakona

In Upper Hutt three schools came together with community groups, council and NGOs to undertake riparian planting along the banks of the Māwai Kakona Stream at Heretaunga Park. 80 students from Trentham, Pinehaven and Fergusson Intermediate Schools along with volunteer adults took action to plant the banks of a section of the Māwai Hakona to stabilise the banks, create shade and habitat for the stream and contribute more native trees and plants to encourage other native wildlife.

Planting day was 28 August 2022. This contributes to the work of the Friends of the Māwai Hakona who have been restoring an adjacent area downstream. They planted 150 plants/trees over 100 metres of stream bank – including tītoki, kahikatea, kōwhai, ti kōuka, karamū, koromiko, mingimingi, putaputawētā, toetoe and Carex secta. This action day was part of a longer-term collaborative initiative.

The three Enviroschools have been working with Mountains to Sea Trust to learn about healthy freshwater systems and had compared the Māwai Hakona with a very healthy freshwater environment. They used their learning to design riparian planting to stabilise the stream banks, reduce sediment, and eventually provide shade to cool the stream and provide better freshwater habitats.

Students connected with the work of the Friends of the Māwai Hakona to acknowledge the atua connected with this space.   Other organisations involved were Upper Hutt City Council, Growing Places Community Trust and Friends of Horoeka Reserve. See our other story about Māwai Hakona, an amazing place for learning.


Puna Taiao Wharepārekereke/Nursery renovation

In Porirua, the IBT funding was used to renovate the Puna Taiao Wharepārekereke/Nursery located at the bottom of Rangituhi maunga, in Porirua.  This maunga is a significant site for Ngāti Toarangatira. The land is currently managed by DOC and leased by Camp Elsdon Board. This nursery and education centre is located in close proximity to one of the few remaining remnants of native forest in the area.


Te Puna Mātauranga o Ngāti Toa and the Camp Elsdon Board

Enviroschools, Te Puna Mātauranga o Ngāti Toa, and the Camp Elsdon Board have been collaborating to develop a holistic programme for local tamariki-rangatahi, to be based from Te Puna Taiao, which will begin in 2023, now that the renovation has been completed. Tamariki and rangatahi will have the opportunity to learn in and around the area of the Puna Taiao Wharepārekereke/Nursery. They will collect native plant seed from in the ngahere, through the seasons, propagate seedlings and pot on seedlings over time, until they are ready for planting out at local awa sites for contributing to the wellbeing of Te Awarua o Porirua.    Planting will be at sites of significance to mana whenua and have a catchment health focus. There will be a focus on weaving in Mātauranga Māori such as, mihi ki ngā Atua, whakatauki, karakia whakatō, waiata, pūrākau, maramataka and rongoā. The Puna Taiao Wharepārekereke/Nursery learning experiences will enrich the Local Curriculum learning and the Place-Based Education pedagogy that are a high priority for local schools.

Banner image: Wairarapa College students planting alongside a local waterway.