Families looking for something safe, fun, and positive to do together this weekend, should check out the final Volunteer Tree Planting Day, according Greg Byrnes. Greg is the manager of the Te Kōhaka o Tūhaitara Trust, which administers Tūhaitara Coastal Park. It spans 750 hectares on a 10.5 kilometre stretch of coastline – from the Waimakariri river mouth to the township of Waikuku. The park was established as an outcome of the Ngāi Tahu Settlement with the Crown – with the lands being gifted by Ngāi Tahu to the people of New Zealand. This weekend is the second of two Volunteer Tree Planting Days, and is expected to take three and a half hours. Greg said this weekend also marks the end of New Zealand’s Conservation Week/Te Wiki Tiaki Ao Tūroa. This year’s national theme has encouraged everyone to “see nature through new eyes”. And, with Covid-caution well and truly on the radar, he said this weekend perhaps gives families a wonderful chance to re-connect with nature, do something positive for their community, and get involved in a physical activity outdoors within a team environment. “We had a great day last weekend, with an excellent turnout in the ballpark of around 18 to 20 people,” Greg said. “Anything over 10-12 people is great for the 500 plants we had. So, we got them in the ground really quickly.” Team Effort They will step that up to 1500 and 2000 trees at the Tūhaitara Coastal Park this Saturday, using volunteers on the day, their association with Trees That Count, and the help of the UC Student Volunteer Army. “This Saturday is – of course – much bigger. But being outside makes it much more achievable to have people here. Some people can be mulching while others are doing something else, so achieving social distancing is much easier.” He said, they had completed the site preparation, and everything was ready. With 30-50 students expected – in addition to the usual minimum of 30 to 50 community members – he said he was hoping that, “many hands would continue to make light work.” Soft Digging Greg said there was one definite bonus for any volunteers interested in being involved. “We’re lucky, because unlike some of the planting crews, who have to contend with digging in stony ground, we are mostly working in soft, sandy conditions with our plantings. “So, it’s usually very easy digging, which means we can get a lot of plants in the ground quickly.” The natives being planted include: Cabbage trees, Matagouri, Akeake, Broadleaf, Lacebark, Kanuka, Ribbonwood, Kahikatea, Pokaka, Totara, Matal and Kowhai. Rongoa (Maori medicine plants) include: Kawa Kawa, Karaka, Kohe Kohe, Soft Mingi Mingi, Bush Lawyer and Tawa Tawa. Shrubs and grasses round out the selection. Date: August 22, 2020 Time: 9.30am - 1pm Organiser Information/questions: - Te Kohaka o Tuhaitara Trust Location: Join the team from Te Kohaka o Tuhaitara Trust and the student volunteer army to begin planting a native transect from Tutaepatu lagoon to the sand dunes. Vehicle access (monitored) from the park gate on Tiritiri Moana Dr. in Pegasus Town. You will be directed where to drive/park from there. You can also walk or cycle to the site from Woodend Beach Rd or Tiritiri Moana Drive. Look for signs/staff member. What to bring: A planting spade (optional), gloves, drinking water and dress warmly. Suitable for all ages. Children should be accompanied by an adult. See you there. PLEASE NOTE: All attendees need to sign in on arrival.