Wellington Scoop

$20,000 to buy plants for Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve

Press Release – Department of Conservation
The Waikanae Estuary Care Group will be stocking up their plant nursery to help restore the Lower North Island’s second most valuable estuarine environment following a $20,000 grant from the Department of Conservation (DOC) Community Fund.

The Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve, established in 1987, protects a natural mosaic of freshwater and coastal ecosystems in what is today an urbanised area. The Waikanae Estuary Care Group has been working hard since 2006 to maintain and restore the estuary.

The Care Group will receive $20,000 over the next 21 months from the Community Fund, which will go towards growing of some 3500 native eco-sourced plants in the Care Group’s own nursery in the estuary.

“This grant will support and grow our existing work to improve the Waikanae Estuary for both the flora, fauna and the public,” says Robin Gunston, chairman of the Care Group.

“Increased urbanisation has seen the estuary habitats reduced in area, and they are also subject to an increasing range of pressures about their use. A key part of the Care Group’s work is not only to restore but demonstrate to the public how they can protect and care for the Scientific Reserve that they use regularly, but often take for granted.”

An additional 2000 plants will be specially sourced and grown to go alongside the main estuary path, aimed at radically enhancing the public perception of the Scientific Reserve. The nursery will be updated, with renewed shade house growing and plant-out capacity. Planting will be enhanced by environmentally friendly plant shelters, which are more effective and reusable.

The Care Group will also invest in weed clearing equipment and small sprayers, and train volunteers in their safe use.

Jack Mace, Department of Conservation Kapiti Wellington Operations Manager, has congratulated the Care Group on the substantial contribution it has made to the estuary over many years.

“The Waikanae Estuary Care Group is an effective and growing organisation, making a real contribution to conservation and to its community. It’s a great example of how community groups and DOC can work together on shared projects,” he says.

“The Waikanae Estuary and the wider river catchment are special places, and DOC is working with iwi, the community and fellow government agencies on environmental restoration. Initiatives like the Waikanae ki Uta ki Tai project, and the invaluable work the Care Group are doing, all highlight the growing recognition that these places have significant valuable.”

Content Sourced from scoop.co.nz
Original url


  1. Chris Horne, 5. December 2019, 20:39

    The only ecologically sound method of restoring the indigenous plant communities either side of the Waikanae Estuary is as follows:
    1. Intensive and sustained destruction of PEST-ANIMAL SPECIES – hedgehogs, Norway rats, ship rats, mice, stoats, ferrets, weasels, wasps, feral cats;
    2 Intensive and sustained destruction of PEST PLANTS & OTHER ECOLOGICAL WEEDS.
    This process will allow Nature to restore the area’s indigenous plant communities and ecosystems in any entirely natural way.

    Planting native species, no matter how truly “eco-sourced”, is in my opinion merely gardening, a form of community therapy which sabotages the existing ecosystem. It has no place in any reserve, let alone such a special place as a Scientific Reserve.

  2. CC, 5. December 2019, 23:13

    While appreciating your extensive knowledge, experience and expertise Chris, there is the difficulty that pests, both animal and ecological, have eliminated some endemic plant species from sites that are worthy of restoration. A contrary view to yours, is that by re-introducing displaced species with eco-sourced endemic planting, nature will cull out what the ‘terroir’ does not approve of. Unfortunately, what is easily overlooked is that non-endemic natives can be virulent pest species that need to be removed. The thriving proliferation of karaka on Mt Victoria is an example of this.

  3. glenn, 6. December 2019, 6:25

    Good on the Care Group @chris horne, At least they are doing something about it

  4. Katy, 6. December 2019, 7:33

    Kill everything but natives? That’s not natural as we are part of nature. Long live the hedgehog and all the other small mammals that have made NZ home thanks to us. Live and let live I say.

  5. Jeanuau P, 6. December 2019, 9:05

    I’d rather they planted 3,500 plants than started killing the local cats and other fauna .
    There is nothing wrong with gardening or community therapy.

  6. Barbara H, 6. December 2019, 10:58

    I like hedgehogs and oppose their extermination! I can’t understand how Chris Horne can advocate extermination of creatures that have lived here for over 100 years.

  7. CC, 6. December 2019, 14:22

    Katy – What you are saying is ‘let live and encourage the extermination of all that is endemic to NZ.’ Do you adopt the same philosophy to rodents around your house?
    Jeanuau P – 3500 plants are a drop in the bucket – there are individual volunteers in Wellington who plant up to 500 each every year, and over 100 community groups that plant many more thousands annually. Local cats and non-endemic flora and fauna species massively compromise their efforts.
    Barbara H – Since you are so enamoured with hedgehogs, feel free to obtain a zoo licence and go for it. They are one predator that NZ’s flora and fauna can well do without. During the hundred years they have been here, hedgehogs have helped consign creatures that have been here for millennia to threatened and extinct status.

  8. TrevorH, 6. December 2019, 16:22

    There is a kind of madness in the air that makes normally sane people want to kill anything deemed not to be “indigenous”. This kind of phobia sweeps through nations from time to time with savage and disastrous results, particularly when it obsesses with differences among humans. Leave the hedgehogs alone.

  9. Peter Kerr, 6. December 2019, 18:50

    Trevor, there is a “madness” in people who destroy forest and wildlife when they set foot in new territory. “This kind of phobia” (a phobia that cannot admit that native trees and plants are anything but bush) sweeps unchecked among colonists and settlers with disastrous results for the original inhabitants, human and animal.
    Sure, feel free to cuddle up to your cute little hedgehog, but give us a break from the armchair philosophy; I’m on the side of those who want to reduce the estimated 72,000 daily death toll among adult native birds, chicks and eggs. (And that figure is an estimate for native forest. All of New Zealand would see a figure of 100 million adult native birds, chicks and eggs).

  10. Brendan, 7. December 2019, 7:44

    Peter Kerr – Didn’t Moa live in Aotearoa and were extinct before Captain Cook et al turned up? You can’t blame colonists for everything.

  11. Barbara S, 7. December 2019, 9:59

    I’m tired of the continued abuse of European settlers in this country. I feel we have done an awful lot of good. People like Peter Kerr need to at least acknowledge this.

  12. Alf the Aspirational Apteryx, 7. December 2019, 18:49

    @Barbara S: I fear people like Peter are driven by ideology and cannot be reasoned with. So common these days.

  13. Helen, 7. December 2019, 22:17

    Well said Alf.