The final weekend of a three-part Matariki planting series was held recently and is hoped to be the latest part of the growing community planting days initiated by Hawke's Bay regional councillor Hinewai Ormsby and husband Cam.
"Matariki is a good time for planting trees. It's seasonal — the land is moist. This is part of what we do, what we should do and what our ancestors did," Hinewai says.
All of the 4000 plants which were planted by around 180 volunteers came from the couple's Waiohiki property.
"This is the fifth year we have been growing them at home, purely to bring the community together and to enhance the biodiversity of our natural environment for our future generations."
The Matariki series was held over three consecutive weekends with the trees planted on land bordering the Taipo and Whareponga streams. Hinewai says they have built up very good community networks since planting days began, calling on whānau, environmentalists, colleagues and the landowners to help out.
"It's how we bring people together who are invested in doing this each year. We come in with the native trees which have been grown for a year or two, bring the community together and spend the morning planting after about a day of prep. The trees we use are chosen because they are hearty, they grow fast and their survivability rate is high."
Hinewai says they make relationships with landowners and people go back years later to see the progress.
"The whole process is really special. It's also good for our two children who understand why we are doing this."
Hinewai says land bordering the Taipo Stream was chosen to plant on because of its sediment problem, lack of shade and lack of corridor for birds to fly to the sea.
"It's in a degraded state. We need to invest in our community and action towards regeneration projects. It gives me mana to know we are physically making a difference."
She believes just as vital are the people doing the mahi.
"We can have rules, regulations and funding, but we can't forget how crucial it is our community needs to take action and make a difference."
She wants the community to understand the value of these planting days.
"No matter the weather, everyone's wairua is lifted. This makes it special."
■ For more information about planting days firstname.lastname@example.org