Community volunteers, schools, Department of Conservation and Department of Corrections personnel have provided significant support for this year’s annual Tūpuna Maunga planting programme.
Between May and August, 41,000 native plants take root in the whenua across eight of the Tūpuna Maunga of Tāmaki Makaurau.
"These plantings bring the Tūpuna Maunga another step closer to their restoration," says Authority Chair Paul Majurey.
A mix of tree, shrub and ground cover species have been planted and sourced with great care from a range of nurseries that focus on sustainability.
All are components of a WF7 Pūriri forest ecosystem: a Critically Endangered ecosystem that was originally widespread on the volcanic soils of Tāmaki but has been reduced over the centuries to small, scattered remnants.
Maramataka, the Māori lunar calendar, guided the timing of the planting days held on the Tūpuna Maunga.
Cr Alf Filipaina, Authority Deputy Chair, says of the programme, "Working with volunteers is critical in our ongoing, networked process to enable relationships to grow and strengthen. It’s a way to build an understanding of the Tūpuna Maunga values and help us to actively respect, protect and preserve these iconic taonga."
That’s why staff take on challenges like coordinating back-to-back planting sessions with hundreds of tamariki from different schools local to the Maunga - and dealing with kids’ very real obsession with worms.
Everyone goes the extra mile, from independent experts who attend plantings to ensure sites are being cared for, to patient gardening contractors, to facilities contractors who work the barbeque-on-a-trailer that sizzles the essential sausage (or falafel) for hungry workers.
Vegetation management on the Maunga, including the proactive management of pest trees etc, and the restoration of indigenous flora and fauna, was signalled in the Tūpuna Maunga Integrated Management Plan which was publicly notified and the subject of a public submission and hearing process in 2016.
This year’s planting numbers add to 100,000 natives already planted since winter 2018, bringing up a total of 141,000 plantings to date. Paul Majurey says, "Over time the plantings will create multiple native ecosystems that reflect the original landscapes on the Maunga, and that support habitats in which native wildlife thrives”.
Cr Alf Filipaina adds, "We’ve heard the call of Mana Whenua to protect the Maunga with plantings that will strengthen their mauri (life force) and contribute to restoring their visual integrity as an important indigenous landscape."
It’s a great satisfaction to the Tūpuna Maunga Authority’s conservation and engagement teams to have been able to deliver a full volunteer programme in contrast to the cancellations wrought by last year’s lockdowns. Staff encourage the community to come to future planting events, to help and be part of the restoration: "We have the best planting days!"
Maunga planted this season
- Matukutūruru / Wiri Mountain
- Maungarei / Mount Wellington
- Maungawhau / Mount Eden
- Ōhuiarangi / Pigeon Mountain
- Ōtāhuhu / Mount Richmond
- Ōwairaka / Te Ahi-kā-a-Rakataura/ Mount Albert
- Pukewīwī / Puketāpapa / Mt Roskill
- Te Pane o Mataoho / Te Ara Pueru / Māngere Mountain