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Crown property

Helping to populate Christchurch’s red zone with thousands of native plants has been life-changing for some of the students involved, according to Eco-Action facilitator David Newton.

A teacher at one of the 16 schools involved in Eco-Action, David is the driving force behind the charitable organisation that to date has planted 22,000 native plants across two red zone sites.

Hundreds of students and their supporters turned up to one of the sites in August to populate it with about 3,000 native plants that were grown by the students from locally sourced seeds.

Montage of two photographs from the planting project, including a young child in a tutu with her mother and volunteers digging wearing high vis gear
Hundreds of students and their supporters turned up to a recent Eco-Action event, populating the site with about 3,000 native plants.


Following a final planting event happening soon, more than 10,000 native plants will be growing there – eventually becoming a natural habitat and food source for native birds and lizards.

David has seen students benefit significantly after becoming involved in Eco-Action - turning up for weekly nursery potting sessions and the weekend planting events.

“Both of which have increased their mental wellbeing – they can actually do something practical and physical to alleviate climate change, and they can do something practical and physical to sequester carbon.

“Every one of them has a different reason for being there. For some of them, it’s been life changing. We’ve had a couple of Rangi Ruru girls who’ve reported that this is what they want to do ­- this is it.”

Rangi Ruru student Alicia Webster and her classmates helped to grow some of the native plants that were planted at the August session.

“Seeing the plants going into the ground helps you to see that what you’re doing is really helping to make a change,” she says.

Image of student with high vis vest digging, with other people gardening in the background, alongside a fire truck
Rangi Ruru student Alicia Webster and her classmates helped grow some of the plants put in at a recent Eco-Action event.


“It’s important to help plant these so they’ll be here in the future. It’ll help to encourage native birds to come back and also help stop climate change.”

Toitū Te Whenua LINZ, which owns red zone land on behalf of the Crown, has facilitated more than 2,800 short-term projects such as the Eco-Action plantings since 2016.


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