In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the New Zealand Government established the $1.219 billion Jobs for Nature programme in mid-2020 to support a greener recovery for Aotearoa New Zealand.
The four-year programme has brought thousands of people into nature-based employment, benefiting te taiao (the environment) and New Zealand’s communities.
Te Ara Kākāriki received Department of Conservation Jobs for Nature funding for three years which began in July 2021. This project involves the employment of four restoration field workers to restore and establish Greendots, creating valuable and much needed biodiversity havens in the Selwyn District.
Their work includes site preparation, planting and maintenance of over 70,000 new plants as well as pest control, fencing, community engagement and building infrastructure.
The team will focus on the creation of two large legacy sites as well as contributing to a number of smaller Greendot sites in the Tai Tapu-Ōtāhuna Biodiversity Cluster.
Our legacy site Ōkakaraiti is about 800 metres northeast of State Highway 73 in Springfield, and this land has generously been shared with the community by the landowners. A naming dedication event was held for each site before planting began, attended by representatives from Ngāi Tahu, landowners, the Te Ara Kākāriki team, and supporters of the projects.
Legacy sites are significantly larger areas than our regular Greendots and will increase biodiversity by providing a more diverse habitat for native wildlife. These sites will also help to connect our smaller Greendots and become key steppingstones in the Greenway.
Te Pae O Ahuriri is our lower catchment legacy site, located alongside the Little River Rail Trail and the Huritini/Halswell River in Lincoln, and very close to the reconstructed wetland project Whakaora Te Ahuriri.
Our restoration field workers will carry out site preparation, planting and maintenance of 70,000 plants over all three projects, as well as pest control, fencing, community engagement, track building and building minor infrastructure. They will also contribute to a number of our smaller Greendot sites in the Tai Tapu-Ōtāhuna Biodiversity Cluster.
The Ōtāhuna Biodiversity Cluster is defined as the area between Gerkins Road, Early Valley Road, Christchurch-Akaroa highway and the Summit Road. It is a hotspot of community initiatives working
together to maintain and increase pockets of habitat, both on public and private land and creates valuable ecological connections with Te Kākahu Kahukura, a Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust project to restore and revegetate four 1,000 hectare Southern Port Hills areas back to indigenous forest.
Our field restoration team have assisted 18 landowners in Ōtāhuna with a variety of tasks aimed at establishing and protecting a healthy cluster of Greendots in the area, including pest control, planting and maintenance, woody weed control, track building and fencing.
If you own land that you would consider setting aside for a large restoration project, we would love to hear from you. When funding becomes available we want to be ready to act, and turn your land into another legacy site. Large legacy sites become future biodiversity assets for the community, providing volunteering and educational opportunities.