Planting season in Auckland happens twice a year, and one of those falls around New Zealand’s Arbour Day – 5 June – an opportunity which Ōrākei Local Board relishes.
“Our communities have told us that the environment needs to remain a top priority for this board, which is why three of the local board’s five outcomes are steeped in environmental aspirations” explains Scott Milne, chair of Ōrākei Local Board.
The Ōrākei Local Board area is home to a number of parks and reserves, more than eight swimming beaches and over 20 kilometres of coastal walks. It has a very environmental focused community with countless volunteer groups working on improving the environment, green spaces, water quality, pest control and similarly related initiatives. Environment portfolio lead for Ōrākei Local Board Margaret Voyce is helping the board embrace these community groups and ensured the team were especially active around the 2021 Arbour Day planting season.
“Board members are being kept busy during their weekends this planting season, whenever we can we are out there with spades and in gumboots joining the efforts to keep our inner suburbs a green haven” explains Voyce. "The interest within the community is thrilling. It bodes well for another Orakei Environmental Forum which will be held in September this year.
“Through a variety of grant approvals, budget allocation and community empowerment activities, we are able to support a number of planting events across the local board area."
Several elected members attended the Arbour Day planting event at Churchill Park in Glendowie. The first half of 1000 native trees were planted, provided by Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei from their Kepa Road nursery.
“Planting events are a delight to be involved in," explains Milne “there is never a shortage of willing volunteers, many bring along their entire family or simply pop along to help out for an hour to help with the weeding, land preparation and planting.
"It is very easy to see that these efforts are going to have incredible long-term benefits for the environment and supporting the Wildlink initiative, which is an important element in ensuring bird and wildlife have connected greenspaces across the region. We cannot thank our hardworking volunteer groups enough, Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei, Environment Volunteers New Zealand and all residents for all of the work that they do.”
Ōrākei Local Board’s environmental efforts won’t end as the planting season does, throughout the year they support a range of community groups and projects such as the Eastern Bays Songbird project, Eastern Bays Mens Shed, Enviro Schools and much more.
Keep an eye out for environment volunteer events near you and the Environmental Forum in September.
For more information and to keep informed follow Facebook.com/OrakeiLB.