The Waikanae Estuary Care Group has started "adopt-a-plot" to encourage residents living near the estuary to help care for plants in the area.
After looking at various ways of getting water to the different areas to improve the survival rates of young plants once planted, the care group could not find any feasible options.
"Watering is perhaps one of the main reasons for the plants not surviving, followed by frost and weed encroachment," said nursery manager Sandy Collings.
"We looked at various ways of getting water to the different areas and it was not feasible.
"DoC has repeatedly said they want more community involvement and acknowledge the difficulty in looking after such a large area, so we are getting residents to adopt a plot along the estuary to look after.
"We are very lucky to have a great group of volunteers who are willing and able to help share the load."
The Waikanae Estuary Care Group works alongside the council and the Department of Conservation to restore more than 75ha of native plant habitat at the Waikanae Estuary Scientific Reserve.
Volunteers do the planting, often with support from school groups, with plants specifically chosen for the wet stream beds and dunes in the area.
Sandy said, "We plant reeds, rushes and some trees such as the kahikatea which are suitable for growing in wet areas".
"Carex secta is a great plant for very wet stream beds.
"In the moving dunes we plant sand-binding plants such as pingao and spinifex and coprosma acerosa, and for medium conditions we plant manuka, kanuka, ngaio, hebes, flaxes, coprosma propinqua and so on."
The care group is calling for more volunteers to sign up and adopt a plot, with plot sizes depending on how big the area is and the amount of time spent determined by how involved you would like to be.
Denise and David Direen have been part of the care group for two years, enjoying getting outside to do their bit looking after the estuary.
Despite not living right next to the estuary, the couple have cleared up their plot, weeding and watering the plants back to health.
Some individuals have small areas with around 30 plants. Others, if they want to, can have around 100 plants.
"It may mean spending two or three hours a week to get the area tidied up then maintaining the area doing two hours a fortnight," said Sandy.
"Watering the plants in the summer months is very important until the plants are established, which can take two years.
"This will require taking water to the plants weekly or twice weekly.
"If the person is managing well they can increase the size of the area they are looking after and learn the names of the plants and weeds in the area.
"We try to match the person with an area close to their home so that it is not too far to carry the water and carry their tools."
Sandy said when more work needs doing, the care group are there to support and can arrange to have the area strimmed to make it more accessible or provide more plants if needed.
"We hope that some families will adopt an area and bring their children or grandchildren out to help out as well."
To adopt a plot contact Sandy on 022 685 7898.