Does your school want to take long-lasting action for the environment? Are you ready to go beyond a one-off field trip to making a real connection and ongoing commitment to a park near you?

School ‘connect and grow’ planting programme

Manaaki Taiao – Nurture Nature supports schools to connect to a local green space by committing to a three-year planting programme.

It includes a partnership with a Park Ranger and/or a local community group. It involves taking part in planning, planting and maintaining your local planting project.

The programme takes a local curriculum approach with place-based learning experiences, led by rangers in partnership with your teachers. It is supported by, and implemented within a Kaupapa Māori framework, taking consideration for school values, and local community needs.

We take applications from new schools from July-November each year, for planting in the following winter. This allows us to order the right plants and for us to get to know you and your school and to plan the year’s activities.

To ensure safety and maximum learning it's recommended that 30 children can be involved in the programme at one time. It can be a mixed year group that shares updates with the wider school and invites them to planting events etc.

We have limited spaces available each year so please get in touch to be added to the wait list.

If you are not able to commit to the full three-year programme just yet but still want to get out planting, we still want to hear from you. Many of our regional parks offer several planting dates for schools to take part in.

Or, look through our volunteer in parks pages for public events near your school.

Programme and toolkit

This is a guideline and can be negotiated to better fit the needs of the school and the project.

The basic framework for your three-year commitment

Year Number of sessions Session description
Year 1 Four Introductory session
Meet your ranger/coordinator. Visit the possible site, talk about the importance of native, eco-sourcing and the right plant for the right place, the best time to plant, how to plant and maintain and start looking at a planting plan

Learning experience
Pick a LEOTC programme or similar to supplement your planting project. Preschools may wish to have an explore your park day

Planting day/event
Set up your photo point to monitor your plants, plant and water your trees

Maintenance day
Weed, water and watch over your plants
Year 2 Two Two sessions with a school group. Maintenance day and one other session.

Focus to be decided by the school group and ranger/coordinator
Year 3 One Celebrate your achievements


Expressions of interest

Fill out our Manaaki Taiao – Nurture Nature expression of interest form.

Our programme is currently full but please get in touch for more information about our three-year programme or one-off opportunities.

Please email for more information or to be added to the waiting list.

Success stories – what students have already achieved

Paparoa School students are change-makers

August 2020

Our school is full of Change Makers including us, so on Tuesday the 8th we got a chance to prove it! We planted in Rutland Reserve so that we can help our native things such as trees, bugs and birds. We aren’t the Guardians of the Galaxy but the Guardians of the Reserve.

Squelch, squelch, squelch! Rangi Hapū’s feet walked down through the Reserve. Each of our classes Tūī, Kārearea and Takahē took turns to be volunteer rangers for the day planting and taking care of our reserve.

The weather on the day was wild, sunny with a soft, Easterly breeze that balanced it out and made it mild. For this weather, we needed to wear our jackets, sun hats, gumboots and sunblock.

We got help from Yvette and Sarah, the Council Park Rangers. They had an enormous trailer with plants and tools for our task.

Paparoa Street School’s mahi recognised

21 October 2020

Paparoa Street School has been recognised by their local community board as champions with a Keep Christchurch Beautiful award.

Board chair Emma Norrish nominated the school to acknowledge all the hard work the school is doing in the Rutland Reserve, planting, maintaining and taking responsibility for it along with working with Ngāi Tūāhuriri on some renaming projects.

Two teachers and student representatives received their award at a recent ceremony to celebrate the volunteering efforts of local people and groups which contribute so much to the beautification of our city and its environs.

Te Raekura for the birds

28 August 2020

Students from Te Raekura Redcliffs School joined forces with our Parks team for a volunteer day of planting and bird-watching, exploring the connectedness of all living things.

The students used binoculars and bird identifying gear to spot a number of native and migrating bird species in the estuary, including black-backed gulls, shags, terns and kotare / kingfisher.

The students are keen to keep watering their plants over the summer and do regular rubbish pick-ups, fulfilling a kaitiaki role of the diverse area across from their brilliant new school buildings and site.

Leaders of change - from the ground up

22 September 2019

Over the last month, over 500 students from 12 schools all over Ōtautahi Christchurch have got their hands dirty at planting events in our parks.

Park rangers have been busy supporting students to take action for the environment. Every age, from early childhood to high school have done their bit, with an estimated 3000 plants in the ground this month.

This year has seen an increase in the councils’ support for school planting projects thanks to the community partnerships fund. Schools who want to take a kaitiaki (guardian) role in their local park have been encouraged to explore and learn about the natural environment before attending a planting day.

A planting day is now so much more than just a nice day out of the classroom, it's about students building community connections and understanding their place and role in the world around them.

Schools and parks involved included Heathcote Valley School at Birdsey Reserve, St James at Bexley Park, Burnside and St Patricks Primary at Wairarapa Stream, Jellie Park, Te Waka Unua and Hagley High at Te Oranga Waikura, Papanui High at Bridgestone Reserve, St Margarets at Seafield Park and Sumner School at Sumnervale.