Almost 200 Western Bay of Plenty students have mucked in to help clean up a precious local waterway as part of this year's ANZ Love Your Water Tour.
Bay of Plenty Regional Council, in partnership with multi-award-winning charity Sustainable Coastlines, is working with local schools, businesses and volunteers to create cleaner waterways and coastlines in the region.
Today a group of 190 students from Maketū School, Te Ranga School, Te Matai School, Bethlehem Primary and Pāpāmoa College took up a planting challenge at Te Awa o Ngatoroirangi-Maketū Estuary.
Courtney Bell, Bay of Plenty Regional Council's Senior Projects Officer, said today's planting of 2,000 native plants would contribute to the 20ha of wetlands around the Maketū Estuary margin.
"What these students have planted today will grow and help filter nutrients as well as create breeding areas for fish and birds. They have directly contributed to cleaning our waterways and did an amazing job," Bell said.
More planting days were also planned for this weekend, she said.
"We have huge number of plants for the lower Kaituna area and would love help from the local community to get them in the ground," she said.
The Regional Council had more than 50,000 plants to help restore the salt marsh in the upper Kaituna estuary this winter.
As part of the ANZ Love Your Water Tour 2019, Sustainable Coastlines is partnering with organisations, schools and community groups across New Zealand to plant tens of thousands of native plants and trees along coastal waterways.
Sustainable Coastlines co-founder Sam Judd said planting days were an excellent way to connect people to nature and establish kaitiakitanga (guardianship) for the long term.
"Maketū is a very spiritual place, important to tangata whenua. It's a privilege for everyone to be here giving some love to this fantastic location," Judd said.
The next Pā Ika planting days are this Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 1pm access from Ford Rd, Maketū.
Judd said all equipment is supplied, but volunteer need to wear gumboots or sturdy, closed-toe shoes. A sausage-sizzle lunch will be provided by J Swap Contractors.