Take a trip down through the Waikanae Estuary and you'll see sign after sign noting the Waikanae Estuary Care Group (WECG) have been there – putting more than one type of stake in the ground.
Joining with other groups and many schools from the area, the care group has facilitated many land-based plantings since 2004 to maintain and restore the vegetation around the estuary's boundaries.
Last week a special planting took place, a joint initiative between Paraparaumu College and the WECG.
A small group of students from Paraparaumu College along with members of WECG came together to plant kahikatea trees in the estuary, which were grown by previous students in their school nursery.
Working off a restoration plan created by ecologist Isobel Gabites, the trees were planted in a swamp area near the Puketewhainoa Lakelet, which can be accessed from the estuary entrance off Manly Rd near Hadfield Place.
The planting comes after members of WECG visited the students last year to help them start their own planting project.
"Paraparaumu College horticulture teacher Anita Taylor emailed us asking if we would like to work together with the students sewing and germinating the seeds and then planting them together in the estuary," WECG secretary Pam Stapleton said.
WECG member Sandy Collings said, "We're really excited to have the students helping us grow the plants and getting them ready to be planted.
"It's a big help for us and planting them together in the estuary gives the students a chance to see what we're doing, it's their future."
The students also handed over trays of wiwi plants which the students germinated and pricked out last year after Sandy held a talk at the school to inspire the students.
The students raised 240 wiwi and 50 manuka plants in seed trays, growing them from seed and tending to them until they are ready for planting.
"They could actually have continued growing them out, but there's too many plants and potting mix required so we're taking it over from here."
WECG will re-pot the wiwi in their nursery on Hana Udy Place until they're ready to be planted in the estuary, at which stage they will invite the students back to plant.
One of the students, Year 10 Cara Guy, especially enjoyed the planting.
"I really like how we can relax and get into gardening," she said.
Noah Cundy also relished getting outside and planting.
"I live on a farm in Te Horo and want to be a farmer, so learning about plants and doing this is good," he said.
Last month 45 horticulture students from Paraparaumu College planted an area in the reserve alongside the pathway.
Working with schools is important to the WECG.
"It's very rewarding working with schools," Pam said.
"In years to come we hope they'll come and walk past and say 'I planted that'.
"This estuary belongs to everybody.
"We want all the children and students around here to feel like it's theirs and that they should be looking after it."