Restoration Day takes place in a different location in the Wellington Region each year, encouraging people to look outside their home areas and engage with a wider range of the conservation community.
Wellington’s Restoration Day is a massive event in any Wellingtonians conservation calendar. Restoration Day, began in 1995, with the sole purpose of recognising and supporting the immense contribution of local community groups who run a range of ecological restoration projects in the Wellington Region.
This year 205 people attended Restoration Day which had the theme of ‘Caring for our Coasts’. It was held on the Kāpiti Coast and was supported by DOC, Greater Wellington Regional Council and local councils. Restoration Day takes place in a different location in the Wellington Region each year, encouraging people to look outside their home areas and engage with a wider range of the conservation community. There is always keen interest from the volunteering community who see it as an opportunity to network, up-skill and share knowledge.
Over the course of the day participants were able to listen to five key speakers:
- Matua Mahutonga and Matua Mahu from Te Ati Awa ki Kāpiti opened the day, thanking the volunteers for their great efforts, and shared local history and their experience of having a healthy coastline within their living memory.
- Coastal scientist Jim Dahm was the keynote speaker, discussing the background and success of coastal restoration and how this has adapted with climate change
- Jenny Rowan, current chair of the Wellington Conservation Board, reflected on her attendance at a climate summit conference in Scotland and gave listeners a personal challenge to make a conscious decision to address climate changes.
- Dr Huhana Smith, Head of College of Creative Arts at Massey University, closed with her experience of restoration and challenged all to listen and design with the whenua and tangata whenua.
Field trips to the Lizard Garden on the Paekākāriki escarpment, the Waikanae Oxbow and the Waikanae Estuary restoration were all popular and offered much to learn. As well, community projects and agencies shared knowledge on a range of topics including: the wonders of Powelliphanta snails, how drones can be used to capture changes in restoration projects and help tell the story to the public, how we have stores of blue carbon in our estuaries and the opportunity this presents in supporting the impacts of climate change, and how kaupapa Maori knowledge and science has been used in the restoration of iwi land.
As with the previous 24 years, Restoration Day 2019 was a resounding success, encouraging continued volunteer efforts in the region. Participants were enthusiastic and identified highlights that included the wake-up call on climate change and the sharing of new ideas and stories about collaboration. Volunteers felt valued, their work was validated, and they enjoyed the opportunities to engage with other volunteers as well as a range of experts and professionals. Volunteers are vital to conservation work and Wellington Restoration Day has become an event that is keenly anticipated by the volunteer community.