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Native Trees & Plants

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Help us protect and enhance
our beautiful urban ngahere

Native trees and plants are an essential part of our environment. New Zealand has a wide array of weird, wonderful, beautiful and useful native trees, which we are lucky enough to be custodians of. More than 80% of these are found nowhere else in the world. Kaipātiki has its own special range of native plants that are naturally found here. Most of the area was formerly kauri forest and we are lucky to still have some beautiful remnants of this unique ngahere to care for.

Every tree contributes to our environment in many ways. They feed and shelter our native animals, clean our air and water, stabilise soil, support our mental health, shelter us from excessive heat and UV and they even save us money through flood mitigation and the direct and indirect health benefits they provide. We are very proud of the fact that Kaipātiki has the highest urban tree coverage (32% in 2013) of any Local Board area in Auckland and we believe that healthy trees help create a healthy community. 

Our trees give us so much and have the potential to provide for generations to come, but they are increasingly under threat. Urban intensification, climate change and pests all have negative impacts. While we love planting new trees, and encourage everyone to join us in doing this, our large mature trees are more significant to our community and environment than a newly planted sapling - and we would love to see them protected.

What Can I Do to Help to Protect Our Trees?

  1. Adopt a Street Tree to look after a tree in your neighbourhood.

  2. Get involved with ‘Hollows for Homes’. Trees are important habitats for many of our native species, and many can’t survive without them. Big, gnarly, old trees are particularly important as they provide hollows for nests and roosts. We have seen a huge loss of big trees since general tree protection laws were removed and this impacts how much wildlife our remaining trees can support. PFK is running a Hollows for Homes campaign to draw attention to this issue and to try and support two of the rare native animals that this tree loss threatens most in Auckland: kākā and pekapeka-tou-roa / long-tailed bats. If you would like to know more about this project please get in touch.

  3. Read up on how to care for native plants - contact us for more resources on this - and read our Native Plant of the Month blog posts under Latest News.

  4. Join us on one of our Volunteer Tree Events. We carry out tree plantings during winter and during the rest of the year we hold guided walks, workshops and tree care events. Have a look at our event calendar to see what’s coming up or contact us to ask about volunteering at tree-related events.

  5. Learn the right questions to ask and information to seek to safely replant slip sites. Read PFK's guide on slip restoration, native plant selection and seed collection:

Guide: Native Plant Revegetation for Slip Stabilisation

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What are Some Other Tips to Look After Our Trees?

  • Trap those pests! Possums and rats both damage our trees (as well as our birds). They can eat huge amounts of foliage, flowers, fruit and seeds in a night. Trapping pests has an immediate positive impact on our native trees, and the more people who do it, the wider the benefit.

  • Don’t cut them down. This is obvious, but always worth thinking about and talking to your neighbours about. Every individual tree contributes to our urban forest (with the exception of pest trees, which damage it). While trees are usually best au natural, sometimes careful pruning can be a helpful alternative to removing them. 

  • Give them a mulch blanket. If you have trees outside the bush on your property make sure they are healthy by giving them a good mulch twice a year and watering them during hot, dry conditions. This goes for street trees too! Trees growing in the bush will have a natural mulch of leaf litter and shouldn’t need anything extra.

  • Control the weeds. Weeds will compete with native trees for nutrients and light and often grow much faster, meaning that they can smother them. Controlling invasive weeds is a great way to help native plants thrive.

  • Stay on track. Walking off track, or letting your pets wander off track, damages undergrowth and seedlings and makes the soil more compact. This can have a big impact on the health of the surrounding trees. Walking off track can also spread kauri dieback, which is a grave threat to our magnificent kauri trees and currently has no cure. Staying on track and keeping pets on track protects the health of all of our trees.

  • Help us campaign to bring back general tree protection laws. We have seen a huge loss of trees across Auckland since general tree protection laws were removed. Most of these have been large trees, which provide the greatest benefits to us all and provide essential habitat and food for native birds and other wildlife. You can support this campaign by providing a submission on relevant legislation as it comes up (we will share this on social media) and by speaking to your local MPs. This issue impacts everyone and requires support from all political parties to achieve change.

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