School brings back plants from the brink

02:31, Dec 21 2013
Moturoa School
PLANT EXPERTS: Moturoa School pupils from left, Nikita Taiapa, 11, Brayden Thompson, 11 and Nalani Taylor, 9.

Ask Moturoa School pupil Brayden Thompson, 11, about the scientific name for native spinach and Tetragonia tetragonioides rolls off his tongue without pause for thought.

The children at the school are well versed in plant names, especially native Taranaki plants, and they have been involved in bringing some of them back from the brink.

Now the school has been awarded a prestigious national award for the work it does propagating native plants.

The Holyoake Award is given annually to one school for its work with the Trees for Survival project.

More than 5000 children from 200 schools were involved with the project, so for a little school of 85 pupils winning the award was pretty special, deputy principal Wade Scott said.

The school grows rare native Taranaki plants, such as Scandia rosifolia, which was down to one plant when the children took it on under the watchful eye of Bill Clarkson.


The children have since planted it out at Maitahi Reserve.

The award won them a certificate and $600, which will be spent on the further propagation of plants.

This year, children, including Brayden, went out with the Department of Conservation to Whitecliffs and planted native spinach that had died out in its natural environment.

Nikita Taiapa, 11, said wild goats ate the spinach, so she sheltered the new plants with driftwood.

She enjoyed going to places she had never been to before, she said.

"And I get to meet new people."

Brayden said he liked surprising people with how much he knew about plants.

Taranaki Daily News