The natives are returning to Te Angiangi Marine Reserve.

Last month 550 native trees and bushes were planted along Ouepoto Beach just north of Aramoana.

Students from Omakere School took part in the project alongside Department of Conservation (DOC) staff and volunteers from Napier.

Ronan McDonald, an Omakere pupil, helps principal George McGowan remove a seedling for planting. Photo / Lauren Buchholz
Ronan McDonald, an Omakere pupil, helps principal George McGowan remove a seedling for planting. Photo / Lauren Buchholz

The students paired into teams of two to dig holes and carefully transfer the native seedlings into their new beachfront homes.

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Parents and teachers from Omakere School were on site to lend a hand in case the digging became too challenging.

"It's terrific to see the enthusiasm that young people bring to these sorts of projects," said DoC operations ranger Rod Hansen.

"The students will be able to visit this place time and again and see how the seedlings they've planted make a difference for the reserve."

Year 7 student Dylan Wind said he buddied up with 6-year-old Harry Sutherland.

"Harry and I planted around about 30-40 plants and overall, we all planted 600 plants and it only took us about two hours.

"After we finished, we walked down to the beach and had lunch in the [Aramoana] woolshed.

"After that we had a tough game of soccer on the sand with the adults, and a tidal walk for about 30 minutes.

"I thought that Harry and I did a great job with our planting and in a couple of years I would like to go back and see how well they have grown."

An additional 50 native trees and bushes were planted further south along the reserve by DoC staff later that day.

Central Hawke's Bay Enviroschools facilitator Haana Wilcox also joined the proceedings and shared a mihi with the students to encourage the success of the planting.