Hawke's Bay Regional Council's Plant Thru Winter programme kicks off today with the first public planting event of the season at Waitangi Regional Park.

The programme encourages people to play an active part in the environment, while highlighting the environmental enhancement work being done by tāngata whenua, schools and farmers.

Today's event is 9am to noon. People will help with in-fill planting for the wetlands created last year near the Ātea a Rangi Star Compass. This is also a "Great Give" event co-ordinated by the Real Exchange, an online community marketplace that helps locals to connect to trade services and get things done. People can register and find details on hbrc.govt.nz.

"Planting sessions are fun events for families and friends who also get the satisfaction of seeing their plants grow over time," says HBRC open spaces manager Stephen Cave.


"We make it really easy for people to enjoy their planting experience by pre-digging holes. Then there's the reward in coming years when we will see a flourishing wetland or new patch of native bush where birds and other creatures have moved in."

There are five other Plant Thru Winter events in June. The main focus is on the Karamū Stream, which drains a large portion of the Heretaunga Plains including city stormwater and runoff from rural land. As a result, water quality in the stream remains poor, but planting the edges and wetlands will help to improve this, while new trees also improve habitats for birds, insects and fish.

The regional council has also identified places in the Karamū catchment where a significant difference could be made with extra work. The public plantings are at the new Wahaparata wetland by 236 Brookfield Rd, Havelock North and alongside the stream at Whakatu.

Other Plant Thru Winter events will be at Pukehu near Hastings, also alongside the Karamū, and a second event at Waitangi Regional Park.