Project Island Song volunteers have planted over 39,000 native trees since 2009. In addition to these, a huge thank you goes to the private landowners on the islands who have planted well over 100,000. These trees provide essential food for native birds and are an intergral part of returning the islands to their former glory.
Our planting programme is ongoing and we need your help! Whether it’s getting your hands in the soil to plant a tree or making a financial contribution you can be part of the restoration of the Islands of Ipipiri!
39,000 native trees have been planted by Project Island Song VolunteersVolunteer planting is a fun day on the Islands
Giving habitat restoration a head start
Native seedlings are growing and the islands are slowly regenerating; seedlings of karaka, kohekohe, mahoe and coprosma species are re-emerging. However, there are few seed sources after years of human habitation and plant diversity is still limited. To give habitat restoration a head-start, Project Island Song volunteers undertake annual planting events to support the natural process of Ipipiri’s regeneration.
As food plants re-establish, it's hoped native birds will return
Over 60 different species have now been planted, including the rare Koru (Colensoa physaloides) with its beautiful blue flowers and purple berries. Since 2003, the sheltered gullies of Waewaetorea, Urupukapuka and Moturua Islands have had more than 39000 native trees, shrubs and vines planted. These provide nectar, leaves and berries that birds, invertebrates and lizards feed on, as well as enhancing the habitat they live in. As the food plants re-establish, it is hoped that native birds such as kukupa, kaka and korimako (bellbird), will return and become part of that ancient dawn chorus once again. Other birds are being reintroduced as part of Project Island Song’s translocation programme.
Work begins with seed collection from around the Bay of Islands, and propagation at the Kerikeri Shadehouse - often for several years.
Planting events take place through the winter, when the soil is moist. Prior to plantings, the sites must be agreed with the Department of Conservation to ensure no archaeological interference and then be prepared for planting which means controlling kikiyu, at least temporarily, by spraying. All plants go through a rigorous biosecurity check for argentine ants and rainbow skinks before being taken to the islands.
There is a core team of volunteers who implement the planting programme, led by Rod Brown of the Kerikeri Shadehouse. A couple of key mass planting days occur each year to encourage the wider community to participate in the island restoration.
The logistics of conducting mass public planting days over water are complex. Teams of volunteers might transport over 2000 plants out to a site on one of the islands, with support from the Department of Conservation providing vehicle, boat and man power. The volunteers distribute the plants up the hill – no mean feat! The story doesn’t end once the plants are in the ground. There is ongoing management, release spraying and ensuring that sites are adequately fenced to keep the sheep out.