Staff from the Skin Centre in Tauranga went bush last week, planting trees on a piece of land where a memorial park is taking shape.

The Pendergrast Memorial Heritage Park is made up of 20ha of land on Mangatoi Rd. It was left to the public by conservationist Jim Pendergrast, who died in 2017, in memory of his late wife Ngaire.

A trust was set up to develop the land in line with Jim's vision for the park to be an educational place for young people to learn conservation practices and somewhere for all people to enjoy nature.

Last Friday's planting day was a team building day for Skin Centre staff and a chance to plant the remaining 600 of the 3200 trees donated by Bay of Plenty Regional Council.


The rest of the trees were planted by Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology conservation operations, farming and horticulture students in August. The students also raked and cleared more than 1ha of blackberry bush.

In addition to what they've achieved over a couple of days, the students also carried out track maintenance and built an access bridge for the public to be able to use the tracks.
Before last Friday's work day trust chairman Steve Oxford and his wife Lynette built a long drop.

Despite the work that has already been done, the trust is struggling to source funding and find volunteers to keep the development work and maintenance going.

Trustee Deb Stewart says ongoing weed control will now be needed to give the trees a start. Tracks also need to be developed in the 18ha of bush.

Most of the land is covered in bush, with some areas reserved for future camping.

Deb says the next project is an ablution block that will enable camping on the land. One has been sourced, costing just under $50,000.

A givealittle page has been set up under the name Pendergrast Memorial Heritage Park Trust to fundraise for the block.

Deb says many would remember Jim Pendergrast and his passion for conservation.


"He or his late wife Ngaire could often be found sitting at the Otanewainuku carpark area watching over your vehicles while you enjoyed the bush," she says.

Jim Pendergrast was a founder of the Otanewainuku Kiwi Trust and spent countless hours teaching young people bushcraft.

Anyone wanting to help either financially or as a volunteer can contact Deb on 021 209 4902 or Steve on 021 966 657 or email