Auckland Airport is giving $10,000 each to 12 charities as parts of its annual 12 Days of Christmas initiative. The Herald is profiling each initiative in the lead up to the big day. The $120,000 came from change dropped off by travellers at the airport this year.

Auckland continues to grow, creating greater pressure on the environment.

But for the past 15 years, EcoMatters has been teaching people how to reduce waste, make compost, grow organic food, as well as other environmentally sustainable practices in a bid to minimise the impact.

"EcoMatters' role is to connect people and the environment, grow the love and nurture kaitiakitanga (guardianship)," EcoMatters chief executive Damon Birchfield said.


"We think that's more important now than ever."

With the money from the grant, EcoMatters has plans to expand its nursery.

"We want to double our capacity and grow 10,000 native trees and plants, but we have completely run out of space to do that with our current nursery and we also need more staff time to achieve this," Birchfield said.

"We're currently fundraising for more shelves and equipment, and this donation from the 12 days of Christmas will enable us to pay for the extra staff time."

The donation from Auckland Airport was warmly received by Birchfield and EcoMatters.

"To get a Christmas present of $10,000 at the end of the year is a reason to celebrate.

"To be able to know we can double the output from our nursery next year is hugely exciting for the team as well," he said.

Auckland Airport's general manager of people and safety Anna Cassels-Brown said the airport loved New Zealand's flora and fauna and tourists did too.

"We all love trees – and native birds, New Zealanders and tourists will benefit from these community plantings for many years to come.

"We're delighted to support a charity that's planting trees to help people enjoy their leisure in the great outdoors," she said.

Last year more than 6000 people visited the EcoHub in New Lynn, and more than 20,000 people were reached each month through digital platforms.