Planting in the Horowhenua and Manawatu

Nina Mercer —  18/10/2014

Winter is over and it was a great time to be tucked up with a book next to the fire—or to be out there restoring our natural habitat in the Horowhenua/Manawatu area!

Planting seedlings in sandy soil.

Well established seedlings were planted in the sandy soils

DOC teamed up with local councils, iwi, and a variety of conservation groups, to get their hands dirty over the winter months and plant trees. These planting days showed the effectiveness of working in partnership for conservation.

Volunteers back at their vehicles for a lunch break.

A well earned lunchbreak

Many people think that conservation work is primarily the role of the DOC, and in years gone past we have worked independently of communities and other organisations in achieving conservation goals.

This has changed over time, and now the focus is on working in partnership.

Planting a seedling in soil.

A lot of TLC was used

This year has seen the resumption of planting at the Kahuterawa Bush Remnant, a piece of native bush on New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) land that brings together NZDF, Horizons Regional Council, Massey University, DOC, community groups and locals in a project to restore the site.

In Levin, the annual McDonald’s Planting Day at Kowhai Park celebrated its 20th anniversary. This event brings together Levin McDonald’s, Horowhenua District Council, DOC and a number of local schools.

Planting seedlings on the side of a hill.

Hard at work

DOC itself has held three planting days in coastal reserves in the Horowhenua—planting up to 1800 trees at each of the reserves, all with the help of iwi, Forest & Bird, and community volunteers.

The conservation gains from restoring these bush remnants are huge. By planting more trees we encourage more native birds to the area, and birds that travel between remnants have more habitat available to them. The trees provide sources of nectar for bees, help soil health and prevent erosion, and create sheltered nursery environments for the natural seeding of more native plants. The list goes on.

Plantings completed surrounded by forest.

A new generation of coastal forest

The lowland plains of the Horowhenua and Manawatu were once covered in magnificent forest, now only visible in the remaining small patches of bush that, for various reasons, were protected from land clearance.

The more we work in partnership, as a community, the better chance we have of protecting and adding to these treasures.

Hardworking staff and volunteers after planting standing by a DOC sign.

Our hardworking staff and volunteers

Conservation and protecting the unique biodiversity of New Zealand is the responsibility of all New Zealanders.

If you are interested in being part of next year’s planting opportunities, either individually, or with your school or another organisation, please contact me: DOC Partnerships Ranger Nina Mercer on

Nina Mercer


Nina is a Partnerships Ranger based in Palmerston North who has worked in conservation for more than twenty years. She has a passion for our natural environment and loves exploring the outdoors, especially with her family.

3 responses to Planting in the Horowhenua and Manawatu


    Thanks for the excellent article

    What are the species that you tend to plant the most?

    And what are the reasons for their choice?




    Hi Nina

    Are there any planting sessions planned in Auckland over the next six months?



      Nina Mercer 22/10/2014 at 8:57 pm

      Hi Owen,
      Thanks for your interest. Planting is done during winter months, so will start again around July. To find out about opportunities in Auckland contact the Auckland office directly. Contact details for all our offices can be found at

      Kind regards