Te Kākano Aotearoa Trust is a Wānaka community-based plant nursery that raises native New Zealand foliage for replanting in their natural habitats. When the first Europeans arrived in Wānaka, they burned many native trees and shrubs to make room for agriculture. Today, Te Kākano works with the Department of Conservation and the Queenstown Lakes District Counsel to identify replanting areas in Wānaka, Alberttown, Hāwea, Glendhu Bay and Diamond Lake.
The organisation operates entirely on a volunteer and donation basis. So, whether you’re a local or visitor, there are many ways that you can help.
This is one of the simplest ways to contribute to the replanting. While out walking around the lake on paths like the Millennium Track, keep an eye out for Te Kakano’s signage. There, you’ll find big drums full of water with buckets to water the plants in the surrounding area. Be sure to try to water the plants furthest away from the drum, as these are usually the ones that get the least amount of love!
This is where it all begins. Each plant is raised at the nursery and then replanted once Autumn and Winter come. The nursery is open to volunteers from 9am – 12pm every Tuesday & Wednesday. There’s also weeding sessions out in the field one evening a week and on Saturday mornings.
The Trust grows between 5,000 & 8,000 plants every year. That’s a lot of plants! If you don’t have time to volunteer, consider donating to the organization through their website.
Te Kākano Aotearoa Trust’s work results in more biodiversity in Wānaka, which provides a better environment for our native birds and insects. Plants and trees also trap carbon, so the more the Trust can plant; the more carbon offset. We encourage both our visitors and locals to help this initiative in any way they can, whether it be simply watering a few plants along the lake, spending time at the nursery or donating!
Photos courtesy Te Kākano Aotearoa Trust