The basic premise for an ecological restoration project is simple: plant trees and wait for the birds, insects and other creatures to arrive. Look at it a bit closer and things get a little more complex. It’s not simply a case of planting whatever trees you can think of that will attract the more noticeable species of birds. It involves a bit of research to find out what species used to grow there, and what species are growing nearby. Then work out what species you need to establish first on your site to create shelter for further plantings of plants that cannot handle direct sun and wind.
The first decade at Manawa Karioi was spent planting out those first-stage plants. And first to move in were the smaller forest birds such as piwakawaka (fantail) followed by tui. The latter was a welcome surprise as when Manawa Karioi was established in 1990 there were estimated to be several breeding pairs of tui in Wellington. And while there were several pairs of kereru in the Hutt Valley, there was maybe one pair in Wellington city.
By 2000, planting at Manawa Karioi had entered the second stage, with planting of species such as kahikatea, kohekohe and nikau under the established canopy of hardy colonising species. At one working bee, 11 tui were spotted feeding in tree lucerne. It was to be another 6 or so years before a regular MK volunteer saw a kereru in Island Bay, perched on the guttering of his house.
A tree enthusiast and an ex-resident of Island Bay. Vanessa brings her digital skills to the volunteer team at Manawa Karioi - one of the oldest reforestation projects in Wellington.
With over 17 years experience volunteering with Manawa Karioi, Ross has a detailed knowledge of the project.
Paul Blaschke is an environmental consultant and part-time university lecturer. He loves living and working in Wellington’s southern suburbs, whether in the Owhiro catchment, the Town Belt near his home, or on the slopes at Manawa Karioi.
Chris and his partner and their 3 children were at the dawn planting of the first tree in 1991. He has maintained his involvement in the project ever since and gets great satisfaction now from seeing how much the trees have grown and how the associated native ecosystems have developed over those 26 years. Chris emphasises that providing tracks to enable the public to enjoy Manawa Karioi, and carbon sequestration, are both integral parts of the project.