Volunteers plant trees alongside Kawatiri Coastal Trail

31 May 2024
Development West Coast
A forest is being born alongside the Kawatiri Coastal Trail thanks to a massive volunteer effort that is being supported by generous funders.

Early in 2024 the Simplicity Foundation donated $80,000 to The Nature Conservancy New Zealand for a reforestation project in the Buller District.  With the help of representatives from the Kawatiri Nature Environment and Communities Trust (KNECT), Buller District Council, Kawatiri Coastal Trail, West Coast Regional Council, and the Department of Conservation a site situated near the Martins Creek suspension bridge was chosen for the project.

The planting began with a volunteer day on 23 April with around 30 volunteers getting things off to a great start. The team from MBC Environmental have continued the work in the background, but a small team just can't compete with an army when it comes to making progress, so a second community planting day was hosted on 14 May to speed things along. 

Close to forty-five people turned up to help, keen to be a part of creating something special for the future. Ten local students participating in the William Pike Challenge at Westport North School, spent their morning assembling plant protectors as part of their community service.  

"It was great to see such a wide cross-section of the community come out to be a part of this day", said KNECT chairperson Glenn Irving. 

"The William Pike Challenge students did an amazing job supporting the planters and helped to get about 1,000 trees into the ground in the space of just a few hours. It was a great way to get the younger generation involved, and they will now be able to watch a paddock turn into a forest during their lifetime."

Development West Coast’s Nature Economy Project Lead, Zak Shaw, joined the community to lend a hand.

“It was great to be there on the day to witness the high level of commitment the community have to restoring the area. The planting project at Martins Creek is bringing the community and nature together,” he said.

In total, over 6,000 trees will be planted with the Simplicity funds. The next community planting day will occur on Arbour Day (5 June).

Members of the community who would like to contribute to future planting days are welcome to attend. Information about upcoming events can be found via the KNECT Facebook page (Kawatiri Nature Environment & Communities Trust) and on the Kawatiri Coastal Trail Facebook page.

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