Record planting day at Manukau Heads



Mahanihani (Manukau Heads) is a place of great significance to the local Awhitu community.
This was illustrated when over 40 volunteers turned out to Sunday’s community planting day at Mahanihani – planting a record 1800 native plants.
“This is the most plants we have ever attempted on a planting day, and certainly the best turn out from the community” says Anna White, from Awhitu Peninsula Landcare.
The youngest volunteer was under five and the oldest close to 90. Among these were two eager canines who ensured enthusiasm remained high while planters were buffeted by strong winds.
This restoration project is focussed on the significant forest fragment on the Ports of Auckland land parcel adjacent to the Signal station and Lighthouse.
The project is an extension of the significant work already undertaken at the Manukau Heads Lighthouse.
The Lighthouse and its surrounds have been transformed by native plantings, and it is the community’s vision to achieve the same for the rest of Mahanihani.
The planting site was recently fenced, to exclude stock, preventing further damage to this fragile coastal ecosystem.
The large number of plants, provided by the landcare group’s plant nursery, and funded by the Auckland Council Environmental Initiatives Fund, will provide a protective buffer to the existing native vegetation, as well as creating additional habitat for native wildlife.
“This planting was no mean feat, almost 2000 plants in two hours; these volunteers are phenomenal” says Monique van Rensburg from the Auckland Council, who has been working with the Mahanihani Restoration Group over the past two years.
The Group, which is made up of several stakeholders, also have plans to highlight and celebrate the cultural significance of the site, by establishing pou whenua (carved posts) along the ancient hikoi trail leading to historic rua (storage pits).
It is clear that the Awhitu community is committed to seeing the project succeed.
“We want this place to be a haven. Like Tiritiri Matangi.
“The birds should have somewhere to go when they fly over from Waitakere. But, you have to start somewhere,” says Carol McGregor from the Signal Station.

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