A mass planting at Mapua's Dominion Flats got a big boost yesterday when 21 staff members from insurance brokers Crombie Lockwood swapped laptops for shovels.
Laura Tibbs, a life and health insurance broker, would normally have been behind a desk but felt right at home grabbing a shovel and planting trees in the mud.
She grew up just five minutes from Dominion Flats on a 12-hectare property in Gardner Valley Rd.
"My boss likes to give me a hard time about buying new gumboots for today but I'm actually a local farm girl.
"We've planted heaps today," she said over afternoon tea, while giving thanks that she ended up in the afternoon group rather than the morning group who were planting in the mud on one of the coldest mornings of winter.
They worked with the Department of Conservation and the Mapua Community Restoration group, planting kahikatea, lemonwoods and other trees.
Al Check, DOC's senior partnerships ranger, said that although the land at Dominion Flats is owned by the Tasman District Council, the department's interest in its ecological health was because of its role as a catchment draining into the Waimea Estuary.
Replanting native forest will improve water quality, shade the streams and create habitat for a wide range of indigenous animal life including fish, birds and invertebrates.
Eight species of native fish were found in this stream system prior to the Ruby Bay bypass construction, including giant kokopu in the Chaytor wetland. Passage of these fish to and from the estuary is essential, as is the protection and maintenance of the wet and swampy areas for kokopu habitat, said DOC partnerships ranger Kath Wood.
Paul Mackay, Crombie Lockwood's Richmond branch director, said his office did a community project every year, and since the company nationally is partnered with DOC, it made sense to work on a local project.
"Our slogan is ‘New Zealand's Natural Cover'. Natural Cover is the role of both plumage in the survival of rare native bird species and our advice as insurance brokers in the financial survival of our clients. In partnering with DOC and the community to help restore this wetland, we are making a genuine commitment to the future survival of native species."
Neville Bibby from Mapua Community Restoration said the partnership with Crombie Lockwood was "the best sort of thing that could have happened. Not only have we planted more than 500 plants today but I think it gives the staff a sense of what's involved and gives them a sense of ownership of the area".
The restoration group, which has planted more than 11,000 plants at Dominion Flats since October, also had help from 19 members of Waimea Intermediate's year 8 leadership group on Wednesday.
- The Nelson Mail
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