Port Hills sapling replanting project aided by Anzac volunteers video

JOSEPH JOHNSON/STUFF.CO.NZ

Plastic cages that will be used to protect native plants in the Port Hills are being constructed as part of a volunteer project called Serve for New Zealand.

An Anzac Day volunteering initiative is helping regenerate Christchurch's fire-damaged Port Hills.

It is the second year of the Student Volunteer Army (SVA) devised campaign, Serve For New Zealand, which encourages New Zealanders to pledge an hour of their time on or before Anzac Day.

The initiative is run in conjunction with the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Association (RSA), with 38 branches across the country hosting projects volunteers can get involved with. 

Christchurch RSA president Pete Dawson and Victoria de Costobadie, 11, put together a plastic cage that will be used to ...
JOSEPH JOHNSON/FAIRFAX NZ

Christchurch RSA president Pete Dawson and Victoria de Costobadie, 11, put together a plastic cage that will be used to protect native plants in the Port Hills regeneration.

The Christchurch launch was attended by a range including political figures through to children, whose act of service was making protective cages for the native saplings being planted as part of Port Hills regeneration efforts.

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The projects mostly relate to helping with Poppy Day or helping with set-up or pack up for Anzac Day memorial services.

RSA national president BJ Clark says the RSA has a lot of difficulty finding collectors for Poppy Day.
JOSEPH JOHNSON/FAIRFAX NZ

RSA national president BJ Clark says the RSA has a lot of difficulty finding collectors for Poppy Day.

SVA founder and chairman Sam Johnson said for a lot of people, it was not possible to attend the dawn service, but there were other ways to "celebrate the Anzacs".

The campaign was "a big effort to help the RSA to engage younger volunteers", he said.

"More than that, it's a campaign about the service that we can all do to respect and pay tribute and learn about the Anzacs."

RSA national president BJ Clark said it was "really quite stunning" a group of young people were willing to give back to the community.

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"We hear the bad things often about our young people. It's pleasing to see coverage of when they do something really great."

The RSA had a lot of difficulty getting collectors for Poppy Day, he said.

"The RSA is really grateful to these young people for what they're doing, and we're humbled by it."

Christchurch Mayor Lianne Dalziel said the project was a "real legacy from the earthquake".

She said people remembered the SVA pour into the different areas that were badly hit by the earthquakes. 

"To know that it's been kept alive through now Serve for New Zealand on Anzac Day, I just think that's so incredibly special."

Dalziel said with every disaster came an opportunity. 

"Every single child or adult who creates a cover for a seedling will be able to look to the Port Hills in the future, and proudly claim their contribution to the regeneration that they can see."

The SVA started as a group of University of Canterbury students who provided earthquake relief following the Christchurch quakes. 

For more information on Serve For New Zealand, go to servefor.nz.

 - Stuff

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