A group of students from Waikanae School have enjoyed a day of planting at Waikanae Beach's Pharazyn Reserve.

Following on the heels of World Oceans Day, the local environment benefited from schools participating in an Arbor Day planting programme at the reserve.

The reserve, located at the junction of Rutherford Drive and Paetawa Rd, has been rehabilitated following its closure as a sewage treatment plant over a decade ago.

On a sunny recent Friday morning about 100 enthusiastic Year 5 and 6 pupils from Waikanae School joined members of the Pharazyn Reserve Focus Group, planting hundreds of flaxes and other native coastal plants.

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It was evident that the children connected with the work they were undertaking, with some children naming 'their plants'.

"We had heaps of fun planting lots and lots of plants," said student Lily Dixon.
"One of the plants I really enjoyed planting was one I called Nelly.

"She is a newborn flax and I bet in a few months or so she should've become a bigger flax plant."

The development of Pharazyn Reserve has seen the planting of thousands of plants over the last 13 years.

In addition to the planting, a number of paths have been laid, with a children's playground, flying fox, toilets and a bird hide also built.

As well as the children undertaking planting and mulching, council programme manager of biodiversity Rob Cross gave the children a talk and planting demonstration.

Other members and supporters of the Focus Group helped supervise and guide the children in their work.

"Our class are very thankful for the once in a lifetime experience to be a part of making Aotearoa New Zealand beautiful and full of native bushes and plants," said Year 6 student Taylor Paku.

"Not only that, but when we are adults and have kids we will be able to take them to Pharazyn Reserve, and show them how big the flax and bushes have become over the years."

Pharazyn Reserve Focus Group chairwoman Jocelyn Prvanov said, "It has been very satisfying to see how enthusiastic and passionate these school children are.

"Our aim was to see local school children involved in a community programme that is great for themselves, the community they live in, the environment and our natural habitat," she said.

"This is a great community project all round."