Wellington Zoo staff recently rolled up their sleeves and got their hands dirty to plant 500 eco-sourced native plants in and around the Manchester Street Reserve.
“Over the past 3 years we have been working hard with Wellington City Council to establish the Manchester Street Reserve as a restoration site,” says Peter Fraser, Conservation Manager at Wellington Zoo. “This site is next to the Zoo, in the Town Belt which means we can engage our local community in this fantastic restoration effort in Newtown and enhance Wellington’s biodiversity.”
Since the start of this project, the Zoo has planted over 1,500 native specimens with the help from staff, our local community and volunteers.
“Before we could start planting in this area, there was a lot of work done to remove all the rubbish and weeds from the site,” says Peter. “The Manchester Street Reserve is a long-term commitment for the Zoo, so a few times a year our volunteers, school students and Zoo staff muck in and help out with planting and weed control in the site.”
Zoo staff members have also noticed that various native birds have started to return to the area since the restoration site began. “Since this space has been transformed, we have noticed an increase of bird activity from Kākā, Tūī and Kererū. We have made sure to plant native specimens including Mataī, Kohekohe, Nikau, Rewarewa, Rimu and Wineberry, as we know many of our native birds depend on these plants for survival.”
“The best thing to do to encourage and attract native wildlife to our neighbourhoods is to use native plants – then the animals will follow,” says Peter.
A vast majority of the plants in the Manchester Street Reserve have come from the Wellington City Council’s restoration programme, as part of the Wellington Town Belt Management Plan.
“We have a unique opportunity to be involved in conservation in the heart of our community and help grow biodiversity in this reserve,” says Peter. “We can’t wait to see how much this site will develop in the future.”