Reforestation, improving water quality and community engagement are of top priority as a new 20-year development to turn Tutarnui Water Reservoirs back to native bush gets under way.

The Rangitikei District Council have jumped on the band wagon to be part of a nationwide project to plant 320,000 native trees and plants as memorial forests for returned service men in the New Zealand Defence Force.

Park and reserves team leader, Athol Sanson says they were not expecting to receive their lot of plants so soon but it has created an awesome opportunity.

"This is giving us an opportunity to not