Mokihi Nursery
Deputy Mayor Neil Gillespie, helped by Frieda Parsons, planted a Kowhai tree to commemorate the opening of the nursery, which can be seen in the background. Photo Jan Hawkins

The Mokihi Reforestation Trust nursery was officially opened last Friday by CODC Deputy Mayor and Cromwell Community Board member Neil Gillespie, after a welcome and blessing in Te Reo by Bill Pompey.

This means that the volunteer organisation now has a small base in Rotary Glen, where plants will be stored, grown and acclimatised, before planting. Prior to this, trustees have cared for plants, stored tools and equipment in their own back yards.

Funding for the nursery construction was provided by the Sargood Bequest.

Mokihi (Te Reo word for a flax or raupo raft) was formed as a result of a scoping study initiated and funded by Te Kakano in 2015. Plantings started in 2016, and in the 5 years since over 6000 native plants have been planted by volunteers across Cromwell and Lake Dunstan.

Blair Walter, Chairperson of the Trust, expressed his gratitude, saying, “These volunteers have assisted with the construction of the nursery, planting days and, just as critical, run water to fill the watering drums, and plant maintenance – rabbit and wind netting and weeding…”

He also acknowledged and thanked the Mokihi Trustees, Barbara Armstrong, Britta Huwald, Richard Lord, Nita Smith, Greg Lind and Andrew Swan for their huge effort.

Special mention was made of founding Trustee and previous Chair, Mike Barra, now passed away.

The Trust plans to establish small pockets of indigenous species on the assumption that they will establish a natural spread in the future.

Part of their purpose is to educate the community on the great range of species that will grow in our dry and inhospitable conditions, so that private plantings can provide habitat for native fauna.

The opening ceremony was followed by a hui with Regional Reforestation groups from Wanaka, Queenstown, Clyde, Alexandra, Lumsden, Ohau, Glenorchy, Lake Dunstan Charitable Trust and DOC Wanaka.

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