By Mick Jensen
Wakanui School students have picked the seeds, nurtured the plants and now put those plants back in the ground from where the seeds were born.
At Tuesday morning’s planting day at Wakanui Beach, students mucked in with local members of Forest and Bird, council gardeners and conservationists to dig in native shrubs like flax, cabbage tree, shore ribbonwood and coprosma (mingi mingi) in the lagoon area.
The seeds were collected last autumn from the beach area, put into trays and later transplanted to allow them space to grow.
Nurtured smaller plants, like muehlenbeckia, will be planted at a later date.
The Wakanui Beach conservation and restoration project has been well-supported by the community and Ashburton council over the last few years.
Speaking at the autumn planting day, councillor Mark Malcolm said the beach had been identified as having flora and fauna of “ecological significance”.
It was also an “archaeological hotspot”.
It had been a favourite spot for him and his family when he was growing up and was a “special” place.
to come together for this first planting day. It showcases community support for biodiversity projects like this and also cultural awareness,” Mr Malcolm said.
Other similar projects were also taking place around the district, including at Lake Clearwater.
He said it was important to have “buy-in” from this generation because they would be the ones to see and reap the rewards for the planting completed today.
The planting day started with a karakia and performance from Wakanui School’s kapa haka group.
Two new information signs, designed by students, were also revealed for the first time.
Archaeologist Michael Trotter, who led the dig at Wakanui in the 1970s, spoke about the type of artefacts that had been found then and could still likely be found at the site.
After advice on how best to plant the new shrubs, students scattered in groups with adults to do their bit for local biodiversity and future growth at Wakanui Beach.