Hero photograph
Photo by Elaine Bruce

Trees for Māwhera

Rata Rusby, Year 11 - Papa Taiao. —

Over the past year and a half, myself and a group of passionate conservation students who study Conservation and Earthcare at the West Coast Trades Academy through Papa Taiao and Greymouth High School have led a project called, Trees for Māwhera.

Trees for Māwhera has been in action since April 2021 and throughout this time period we have been focused on collecting, eco sourcing and germinating seeds whilst building our own nursery. The final goal is to create a greener, healthier, and sustainable environment by gifting one native tree to every student within the Grey District from Years 1-13: that is over 2000 trees! We have given each school the choice to either let their students take home their native trees or the school can work alongside us to create a project in the community to help with biodiversity.

Last week on Friday 16 September, our project team went out to Paroa School to do the very first delivery of native trees to their 180 students. Joining us to do our very first distribution was Mayor Tania Gibson, Greymouth High School principal Mrs Mortimer, Kayla Hibbs from West Coast Trades Academy, Peter O’Sullivan from Tai Poutini Polytechnic, Catherine Moffit and Selwyn Leitch from Greymouth Rotary, Meg Fulford from the Grey Star, Lara Thompson from Papa Taiao and Tania Stoop from Paroa Primary and Greymouth Rotary. We are now looking forward to working with the other schools in the Grey District. 

Next week on Friday 30 September we are excited to be going out to Barrytown School where the project crew will be helping their students plant their trees on site to help increase biodiversity in their school.

This project is being funded by Greymouth Rotary, who secured this funding through the sale of a 120sqm, 3 bedroom home built by Tai Poutini Polytechnic Carpentry students. We are very grateful for the support we have received to help achieve our goal.

Next year we aim to commercialise our nursery and sell native plants to the public. If you're on the hunt for native trees, flick me an email rushbyr20@greyhigh.school.nz to express your interest and we can plan ahead for your planting projects.

This article was written by Rata Rushby. Rata is in her first year studying Conservation and Earthcare Student through Papa Taiao at West Coast Trades Academy.