Green-fingered volunteers make a difference

Publish Date : 04 Oct 2023
Papa Stream2

Seed-funding from Auckland’s local boards has allowed Conservation Volunteers New Zealand to grow a pool of people who do amazing things across the city, Franklin Local Board chair Angela Fulljames says.

“The winner in all of that is the environment.

“We continue to work in partnership with the Papakura and Manurewa local boards on a project to restore the Papakura Stream and without Conservation Volunteers New Zealand what has been achieved would have been impossible.

“Landowners along the stream, and along waterways across Auckland, have welcomed planting projects designed to filter water that eventually finds its way to our harbours.

“We all benefit alongside our precious environment from what these willing extra hands achieve.”

Local boards continue to provide funding for environmental initiatives across Tamaki Makaurau, many involving volunteer and friends’ groups, others corporate teams co-ordinated by CVNZ.

Papakura Local Board chair Brent Catchpole says so many people are willing to give their time to do something to help protect the environment.

“We often hear about climate crisis and the increased adverse weather events we are suffering, but we also hear that people think there’s nothing they can do about it.

“That’s simply not true and people who give of their time to enhance local waterways are making a difference.

“We are seeing native plants dotted along waterways, wetlands being created, native birds returning to areas that haven’t hosted them for years, and the quality of the water in those sites improving steadily.”

CVNZ has been working since 2006 to connect people with nature through practical engagement by providing volunteer and employment opportunities around environmental management.

What started out as a two people in a cramped Auckland office has grown to a staff of more than 100 across, Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Punakaiki on the West Coast.

Auckland manager Kiri Huddleston says meeting the people who get involved is the best part of her work.

“They are all passionate, believe in the cause, and come from all walks of life.”

Manurewa Local Board chair Glenn Murphy says the city’s three southern-most boards have been in partnership in the Papakura Stream Restoration Project, CVNZ Auckland’s current largest undertaking, for three years.

“Something like 12,500 trees were planted in the first year, and that rocketed to 45,000, in the second, with another 36,000 expected to go in this year.

“That couldn’t happen without CVNZ, whose goal is to plant as much of the Papakura Stream waterway as it can. That’s more than 60kms, so clearly no one is scared of hard work.”

Alongside improving the stream’s water quality, a wildlife corridor from southeast Auckland through to the Manukau Harbour in the west will be shaped.

Anyone interested in partnering with CVNZ or getting involved in its volunteering projects, can visit

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