Volunteers re-vegetate slip-prone gully

01 May 2014

Volunteers from Forest & Bird and the Sumner Environment Group have given a Christchurch City Council-led project a boost in the Port Hills’ Mahoe-nui Bush by planting several hundred trees. 

Since 2012, volunteers from the North Canterbury branch and the Sumner Environment Group have been working to return the Mahoe-nui Bush back to its former glory through planting, weeding and pest control. 

“Several thousand trees have been planted since 2006, but couldn’t be maintained after the Christchurch earthquake , so we’ve stepped up our efforts and one of our main responsibilities is to look after the existing natives at the site, “say North Canterbury Forest & Bird committee member Vanessa Horwell.  

Mahoe-nui bush has a magnificent stand of trees which is a small remnant of the podocarp forest that once covered the Port Hills. 

As well as stabilising the soils on the slip-prone Port Hills and providing a buffer for erosion to reduce sediment run-off into the streams in the area, the project aims to create wildlife corridors from mountain to sea to allow birds, invertebrates and lizards to hop along these green spots.  

The planting of the gullies may also help to reduce run-off and flooding in Sumner village. 

The council provides the plants and tools, and Forest & Bird’s North Canterbury branch and the Sumner Environment Group supply the people-power. Over 40 volunteers now work regularly on the site. 

“This project is all about getting local people to recognise and value these special areas by working to enhance them. So far our volunteers have put in over 200 hours,” says Vanessa.  

“We are always looking for volunteers and we have several events in the coming months where people can get their hands dirty.” 

Vanessa says that ultimately they would like to expand the project by doing more pest control, establishing a native nursery, and expanding the project to other gullies in the catchment.  

“It would be great to see the podocarp forests return to the Port Hills and support a flourishing population of native birds.”

If you wish support Forest & Bird’s work to help our wild places and wild things, see www.inournature.org.nz. 

If you would like to volunteer on this project contact Vanessa on (northcanterbury.branch@forestandbird.org.nz