We are a community based initiative to care for and protect our local & regional environment
From our origins as a community restoration project in 1998, Kaipatiki Project has become the largest urban restoration project being carried out by a single group in New Zealand. We care for and protect over 70 hectares of beautiful native bush in Glenfield on Auckland’s North Shore.
With help from hundreds of volunteers from the community, Kaipatiki Project plants thousands of trees each year. Grown from eco-sourced seeds in our own native plant nursery, we are currently producing around 20,000 new native plants annually. Each year over 7,000 volunteer hours are contributed to the organisation by over 600 volunteers including individuals, community groups and corporate team-building days.
Over the last 12 months, Kaipatiki Project has engaged with schools, kindergartens, colleges and adult learners, teaching around 4,000 people about waste minimisation, composting and worm-farming and sustainability.
Around 30% of our funding comes from the Ministry for the Environment, ASB Community Trust and Auckland Council. We then earn the rest of our funds through contracts for service, projects, selling stuff, grants and donations. There are 10 part-time staff and an array of tutors who offer horticultural, restoration and education expertise as part of our growing and ambitious social enterprise.
Eskdale & Witheford Reserves
Kaipatiki Project’s forest and stream restoration work is focused on the Kaipatiki Catchment – the largest catchment on the North Shore. This incorporates the Witheford Scenic Reserve and the Eskdale Reserve Network.
For several years we have carried out stream restoration and bush maintenance contracts on behalf of the former North Shore City Council. Together with volunteers from the community this has involved protecting and enhancing over 70 hectares of native bush.
Kaipatiki Project is the only restoration group on the North Shore with its own native plant nursery. Currently we can grow around 20,000 plants a year – spread over 60-70 varieties. The majority of our plants we plant in the ground ourselves.
Growing plants for other restoration groups
We can grow plants from locally sourced seed for other restoration groups – recent examples include North Shore Forest & Bird (Tuff Crater – photo) and the Hobsonville Plant Network. Email us if you would like to order bulk quantities ready for next winter’s planting season.
The following principles guide our restoration work:
- The goal is to restore the health of the bush.
- We take a catchment based approach to our work – this means working on both public reserves and with private property owners.
- Chemical free – from the start we have not used sprays or other chemical means of weed control. At present this makes us rather unique.
- Eco-sourcing – we grow our plants from locally sourced seed and species.
- Community Involvement & Learning – it is imperative that members of the community are involved in our work and that work involves an education component.
- Assist & Collaborate – wherever possible we provide advice or facilitation or tools to help other groups get established and grow.
Waicare Water Testing
Kaipatiki Project has been one of the longest and most consistent participants in the region wide Waicare water monitoring programme. Every fortnight we test in two different sites on a stream within Witheford Reserve (opposite Glenfield College). Our testing shows that the long term trend is that water quality is gradually improving – which is rewarding given our long term work in this area.
Kaipatiki Project carries out a limited amount of pest control – namely targeting possums and rats. We are currently focusing on the lower area (western side) of the Eskdale Reserve – close to our Centre. We also provide a possum trap hire service for a small cost.
Kaipatiki Project Environment Centre
Kaipatiki Project’s main building serves as our office, classroom, and meeting venue, holding up to 30 people. The Centre can be booked for meetings – for a small charge or in return for some volunteer labour!!
Things to Buy
Through our Centre we sell a number of composting units including worm-farms, bokashi buckets, compost zing, compost bins, and compost tumblers. Possum-traps are available for hire.
Native Plant Nursery
Our native plant nursery and teaching gardens have greatly expanded in recent years. Thanks to the Local Board we can now overflow plant production and storage into the reserve at the rear of the Centre. Alongside new irrigation systems and a 16,000 litre rainwater tank we now produce around 20,000 new plants annually.
We plant the majority of the plants we produce each year into the local reserves. A small proportion of our plants are sold in bulk to various groups around Auckland.
When not taking credit for everyone’s work, Hamish is responsible for the overall management of the organisation including the finances, HR, strategy, stakeholder relationships and acting as the Board secretary. Hamish has a background in not-for-profit management. When not at work you will find him at home in the garden laughing at his own jokes.
Tamsin is responsible for writing our funding applications and reporting on our progress to funders. When not at work Tamsin can be found running the Kea Conservation Trust, which she established to help protect one of the smartest birds in the world.
Natural Heritage Coordinator
Jackie is responsible for the majority of our restoration work of managing the nursery at the Centre & at Hobsonville Point, providing advice to households, overseeing the work in Witheford Reserve, eco-sourcing seed and providing restoration advice as required. Jackie has a sideline business of landscape design and runs her own native nursery. Previously a teacher with a Masters in English, Jackie prefers the plants as ‘those buggers don’t talk back!’
New to the team in January 2013 Vanessa is responsible for running our schools & community education programmes. Details about personality traits are still to be confirmed….she seems pretty normal!
Lisa is responsible for spreading the word on what Kaipatiki is doing and, in particular, letting the community know about our courses and services. Emails, posters, signage and events all get Lisa’s touch as she finds creative ways to communicate our offerings. When not being creative, Lisa is busy taking care of her triplets and trying to teach them how to be English.
Lesley is responsible for ensuring the office and centre run smoothly. Normally the first point of contact for most people, Lesley is also responsible for coordinating the Create Your Own Eden courses. When not at work, Lesley can be found helping out in the family landscaping business and teaching her grandchild how to play poker.
The Guy who gets stuff done at Hobsonville
Wayne is our guy at Hobsonville Point. He manages the nursery there, works with volunteers and prepares and maintains the planted sties in and around the Point. Wayne can find a re-use for anything and likes to keep a tidy workplace. Originally hailing from Pitcairn Island.
EcoFest (North) Manager
Louisa’s role is to bring together the calendar of events for the 2013 EcoFest. This involves working with a whole bunch of groups, schools, businesses and individuals. When not connecting like minds Louisa can be found completing renovations (to the highest environmental standards) of her house.
Not wanting to see a small forest fragment degrade any further, a small band of volunteers decided to make changes in their community. Instead of complaining, they donned their gumboots and started weeding Witheford Reserve. In 1998 the “Kaipatiki Ecological Restoration Project” was incorporated and the momentum started.
Jenny Christianson was the passion behind the project and she soon had a band of merry men (and women) who volunteered their time and energy. The project had many homes: Jenny’s house, a cupboard in the local scout den, and now a converted Council kindergarten facility, hidden in the lower reaches of the Eskdale Reserve in Birkdale.
With growth of the organisation came a widening in focus, to include education around sustainability issues and a change of name to the “Kaipatiki Project”. New programmes such as Kereru Awhina, Nature for Neighbourhoods, Enviro-Schools, Create Your Own Eden, Nursery Bites and the Streamside Assistance Programme were started and crossed the boundaries of the reserve and entered into people’s lives through education and hands-on assistance for their homes, gardens, schools and work places.
A total makeover of the Kaipatiki Project’s HQ was made possible in 2009/10, thanks to input from staff, volunteers and sponsors. New carpet and curtains, an internal & external paint job, a rainwater tank and a tidy up meant a more comfortable and productive working environment for staff, visitors and volunteers.
As the new Kaipatiki Road and bridge was built, trees fell, and weeds and animal pests were given a gateway into the riparian zone. Wandering Jew and convolvulus, among many others, began to grow profusely, competing with a stressed native biota.
Seedlings at the base of parents’ trees could no longer penetrate the dense weed mat and therefore died. A daunting challenge for a relatively small band of volunteers, but with the support and assistance of the North Shore City Council – an act of almost blind faith – the road margin was cleared and planted, and a walkway, designed to link with the envisaged coastal walkway, was created.
As volunteer numbers increased, planting, pest management and education programmes were established to provide direction. Particular emphasis was placed on restoring the riparian corridor as litter, weeds and stormwater problems had severely polluted the tiny stream.
In an effort to change the tide children and businesses joined local residents in planting the hundreds of native plants propagated by the volunteers. During this period the Project was able to secure its first major external funding and employ some equally passionate staff. Under their leadership, Kaipatiki continued to foster a community interest in environmental matters, dragging in more and more support and the membership expanded.
Native plant propagation really took off in the nursery adjoining the Centre when, in 2009, the Birkenhead and Northcote Community Board granted permission for the Project to use land to the rear of the Centre to store young trees and shrubs. This overflow area, with its dedicated irrigation facility, now houses thousands of plants destined for replanting not only by Kaipatiki Project volunteers but also plants which have been grown to order for other local restoration groups including Tuff Crater and Le Roys Bush.
The Kaipatiki Project Committee became a Trust in 2009 – with their sights set on growing the organisation, developing its social enterprise arm,and focussed on securing a new home for the Centre.
A crowning achievement for all involved with the Kaipatiki Project came in February 2010, when the Project won a ‘Highly Commended’ placing in the Auckland Regional Council Sustainable Environment Awards.
With a native plant nursery currently at capacity cranking out 20,000 new young plants every year, and a dedicated volunteer base of local people and businesses, the Kaipatiki Project may be bursting at the seams but has its sights firmly set on moving to a new, more accessible home where it can do even more to keep its corner of the Shore beautiful.
Collaboration with others is the name of the game in the new vision. The new centre would:
- Be a social and environmental hub;
- Showcase good, low-impact design
- Enable community organisations to pool resources
- Provide a welcoming place where the local community and those from further afield can visit
- Be somewhere everyone can learn, be inspired and take action for the well-being of the land, their future and each other.
Options of where to locate the new centre are being explored.
Anyone interested to find out more should pop along to the Kaipatiki Project Environment Centre at 17 Lauderdale Road, Birkdale on a Monday or Thursday morning to take part in regular nursery working bees. Good coffee, biscuits and a warm welcome are always provided!