What’s Million Metres doing next for Canterbury?

21 Dec 2016 by The Million Metres team Auckland Council Northland

Million Meters is working with Te Ara Kākāriki Canterbury Greenway Trust to restore native bush along the Huritini (Halswell) River. The initiative is badly needed.  The river feeds into Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere), New Zealand’s most nutrient polluted lake.

This project will create a small area of restored native forest. The intention is that this will become part of a network of ‘green dots’ across the Canterbury plains. These will become important stepping stone for birds flying throughout the region.

The remnant forest of Tai Tapu is near the planting site. It is abundant with NZ myrtle, ribbonwood, cabbage trees, passion flower, and mahoe. What remains of this forest also has regenerating totara and matai. The project’s aim is to help expand these native bush areas.

To embed this special project into the local community the Trust is working with a local school. Students from Ladbrooks Primary will help plant an area known as Stackwood’s bend.

The students learn hands-on about their natural environment. They find out how to restore native biodiversity to their area. They also study the monitoring of terrestrial and aquatic invertebrates and birds. They have already visited the planting site. Together they have envisaged how they hope the restored area will look, feel, smell and sound.  

Water quality of most streams in the area is poor. This is mainly due to historic forest clearance and more recent intensive farming. As these waterways feed into Te Waihora (Lake Ellesmere) they contribute to the pollution there. 

Georgina Hart, Million Metres Project Lead, says: “Te Waihora should be a focus of national pride, instead of a national disgrace. We are committed to supporting the work that will turn this situation around.”

Million Metres has secured match funding for the first $2,000 of donations made to this project. This means every metre donated for the project up to that point will fund two metres of planting.  

This is a long term project. After planting in 2017, Te Ara Kakariki will be fundraising via Million Metres to plant the next 200 metres of stream bank. Once planting is completed in 2019 the seedlings will be tended for several years while they get established.