A huge effort by volunteers is helping to breathe new life into fire damaged parts of the Port Hills.
About 6500 trees and plants planted by volunteers in Port Hills reserves over the past 15 years were destroyed in February’s devastating wildfire but in an amazing community effort they have all been replaced.
In fact over the past few months volunteers have planted 7200 young plants to replace those lost as a result of the blaze.
They have also made 10,000 plastic cages to protect the fledgling plants so they get the best growing start possible.
“The community has played an absolutely tremendous part in the recovery effort and we are enormously grateful to all our volunteers for the work they have put in, a big thanks to them,’’ says Port Hills Ranger Di Carter.
“Some schools have got behind the recovery effort, growing 3000 poroporo for planting. About 600 have been planted already and the remainder are due to be planted by the end of October.
“Over the winter we have also had contractors plant 3000 flax in Kennedys Bush Reserve to help provide some immediate protection for the waterway,’’ Ms Carter said.
“All these new plantings are helping to breathe new life into the burn area and encouragingly we are also seeing signs of natural regenration as well. Bracken and poroporo, both good native pioneering species, are colonising well in large areas that were burnt, which will help other native species to establish in the future.’’
Ms Carter said more plantings would take place in the fire affected areas in the future.
“We’ve ordered 9400 plants to continue the boundary planting around Kennedys Bush Reserve and Trees for Canterbuy has gifted 1000 trees for planting by volunteers around the Marley Hills Reserve boundary.’’
Ms Carter said the new plants were going to need some special attention over the next few years until they got properly established.
“With young plants it is important to remove any grass around their base so they have the maximum opportunity to grow and that’s quite labour intensive work but thankfully we have lots of volunteers who have put their hand up to help with that work.