Avon-Ōtākaro Network (AvON) has been crowdfunding over the last month partnering with Million Metres and Sustainable Coastlines’ “Love Your Water” programme to plant a wide area of stream that connects Travis Wetland with the Ōtākaro-Avon River. This is part of the natural restoration Mahinga Kai Exemplar Project in Anzac Drive Reserve, a collaboration led by AvON and Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu.
Families with kids getting their hands dirty
On Friday and Saturday over 300 people from schools, workplaces and community came out in the chilling wind. Organisations that supported the planting included Waitakiri School, Avonside Girls' High School, Shirley Boys' High School, Shapeshifter, Prendos New Zealand Limited, IAG, Rotary Club of Avon Ōtākaro, Westpac NZ, Singapore Airlines, Shapeshifter, Avon River Ward-Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints, Rangers from Christchurch City Council, families and plenty of kids.
George Jardine (Mahiga Kai Caretaker), Deon Swiggs (Rebuild Christchurch Director), Betty Chapman (Wainoni Methodist Church patron)
Kathryn Bates project managing the Mahinga Kai Examplar for AvON was hard at work over the planting days. “What makes these days so much fun is having kids come with their families to plant. I remember planting days as a kid and every time you went past the place you planted, the trees would be bigger and it would make you feel like you had done something good,’ says Kathryn. “Shapeshifter a great New Zealand band also came down and stayed right to the end helping us successfully plant 2150 plants. They are really supportive of their local area.”
(Video 1min interviewing Nick Robinson from Shapeshifter:
P Diggsss (on the ground), Sam Trevethick, and Nick Robinson from Shapeshifte
Sylvia Smyth of AvON says “The Exemplar is bounded by the red zone where residential housing and vegetation have been cleared. Restoring the large open spaces with thriving native ecosystems means we can provide native habitats, food sources and reduce the amount of harmful pollutants entering our Avon-Ōtākaro River. One day soon we hope to extend into the Red Zone itself!”
The crowdfunding has so far raised nearly 390m of native planting with just over 300m to go. It closes on the 7th August. Sylvia says “There is still opportunity for public to contribute to the target amount over the next week and you can donate through our partner Million Metres.”
The Mahinga Kai Exemplar at Anzac Drive Reserve is designed as an example of best practice restoration principles that could be used throughout the red zone, as well as being a teaching resource for local schools. The aim is to restore native ecosystems and to educate young people about the ways that plants, waterways and the land can provide sustenance, resources, and safe and clean habitats. www.avon.org.nz
Kathryn Bates from Avon-Ōtākaro Network, Sarah and Oliver Vetter from Sustainable Coastlines, Georgi Hart from Million Metres.