About us

Our vision

The award winning Te Ara Kākāriki Greenway Canterbury Trust is an incorporated charitable trust based in the Sewlyn District of Aotearoa New Zealand’s South Island. 

Our mission is to create a ‘greenway’ – a corridor of native biodiversity Greendots between the Waimakiriri and Rakaia rivers, linking Kākāpōtahi the Canterbury Foothills to Te Waihora Lake Ellesmere and Te Pātaka o Rākaihautū Banks Peninsula.

Having Greendot plantings spread across Waitaha Canterbury will increase the biodiversity and variety of habitats available for indigenous wildlife. 

We aim to engage landowners, members of the community, and students to join us working towards acheiving our goals, so that everyone understands why we are planting Greendots and how they can contribute to improving their local environment. 

Te Ara Kākāriki

Our story

Te Ara Kākāriki was launched on November 18th 2005, after discussions from a group of passionate people developed into the idea of creating green corridors of native plantings linking the mountains to the sea across Canterbury. 

At the time, the plight of the indigenous biota of the Canterbury Plains had long caused considerable concern. Although there were several well-established conservation agencies focussed on the uplands and areas such as Banks Peninsula, there then was no large scale ecological or conservation programme for the lowlands of Canterbury.

The depleted nature of the lowlands (in terms of the indigenous ecosystems) of the Canterbury Plains was emphasized by both Katie Williams and Colin Meurk who wrote “less than 0.5 percent of the plains still support native vegetation”. The Christchurch City Council added to that by reporting “the loss of these native plant communities has reached a point where habitats for our native wildlife have been reduced to a level where they are now insufficient for continued survival.”

“...the loss of these native plant communities has reached a point where habitats for our native wildlife have been reduced to a level where they are now insufficient for continued survival.”

Native plant communities of the Canterbury Plains / Department of Conservation Report 2005

Some key milestones

On the 18th May 2007 Te Ara Kākāriki Greenway Canterbury was established as a charitable trust, and began to seek funding and work together with funders and partners, and the community. 

With their support together we have been able to achieve some key milestones including:

Te Ara Kākāriki is launched

Te Ara Kākāriki Greenway Canterbury Trust was officially launched with the late Lady Diana Isaac hosting a celebratory event at her private residence at Peacock Springs on 18th November 2005. Pictured are founding members Craig Pauling, Frances Schmechel, Shelly Washington, Ian Spellerberg, and Jason Arnold.

The first 1000 plants

The first five Greendots were planted by Te Ara Kākāriki trustees, Copthorne Hotel staff, and the Coalgate Reserve Committee.

Award recognition

The Ministry for the Environment awarded Te Ara Kākāriki the Green Ribbon Award for Community Leadership in hosting the 2011 Canterbury Plantouts. Later that year the trust received the Environmental Award at the Sensational Selwyn Awards.

Diana Isaac Cup launched

Lady Diana Isaac gifted the Diana Isaac Cup to be awarded to a landowner for outstanding restoration efforts in the Selwyn District. 

Kids Discovery Plantout began

The Kids Discovery Plantout Programme began with ten schools taking part in planting and educational activities. 

50 Greendots planted

Te Ara Kākāriki celebrated the planting of the 50th Greendot at a volunteer Plantout.

A winning year for Kids Discovery Plantout Programme

The Kids Discovery Plantout Programme received first place in the schools category of the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network Awards, and second place in the Canterbury Aoraki Conservation Board Awards. 

100,000 plants & 100 Greendots

A special ceremony was held to mark the planting of our 100,000th native seedling, and in the same season we reached 100 Greendots. 

Jobs for Nature funding

We began our three year Jobs For Nature project with the employment of four field workers to complete restoration of two legacy sites and support restoration projects in the Otahuna Biodiversity Cluster.

Today, Te Ara Kākāriki consists of eight volunteer trustees who meet every six weeks to make decisions, with recommendations from the contractors. Each of the trustees also work with contractors on specific areas, such as Greendot planning, plantout days, funding applications, media and information, and Kids Discovery Plantout field day planning. Our contractors include coordinators and ecologists.

Future aspirations

In the future we hope to work on three large key projects. We are actively seeking potential sponsors or companies to partner with on the following projects.


This will be a large central biodiversity sanctuary of up to 1000 hectares

Huritini ki uta ki tai

Completing a source to lake riparian restoration of the Huritini Halswell River

Whakahaumanu Waitaha

Documenting the story of Canterbury Biodiversity Restoration

Please get in touch if you have ideas for Te Ara Kākāriki to fund these significant projects, or can connect us with documentary makers.