Nursery plantsThe nursery eco-sources native plant seeds for propagation. It grows hundreds of native species, including masses of the nursery’s mainstay plants, what nursery managers Anita Pillai and Margaret Suman call ‘the tight five’ – New Zealand flax/harakeke (Phormium tenax), lemonwood/tarata (Pittosporum eugenioides), black mapou (P. tenuifolium), cabbage tree/ti (Cordyline australis) and mikimiki (Coprosma propinqua) - perfect for penguin habitats. Ngaio (Myiporum laetum) and koromiko (Hebe parviflora) are also grown in profusion.Dune grasses have been one of the nursery’s proudest success stories. The YEPT took on the daunting challenge of restoring the sand dunes of the Tavor Reserve with the native golden sand sedge, pikao (Ficinia spiralis), to replace marram grass, an invasive exotic. The success has been repeated at the Okia Reserve.Nursery fundingThe low annual rental of a ‘penny’ for the decommissioned Dunedin City Council sewerage works is helpful for the viability of the business unit. The nursery runs on a break-even basis, relying on donations from organisations and individuals, as well as the sale of plant stock.
- Established: 1988
- Purpose: To grow native plants for revegetating yellow-eyed penguin habitats, and provide a facility for other community groups.
- Seed source: Gathered in the same ecological area where the trees and shrubs will eventually be planted (eco-sourced).
- Production level: Between 10,000 and 15,000 plants produced per year.
- Volunteer help from: individuals and community groups, e.g. Department of Conservation, Conservation Corps, schools, Task Force Green employees, Mirror Trust, Otago Polytechnic.
- Ongoing funding: The Trust’s Donate-a-Tree programme assists annually with funding required to run the Nursery. This is a scheme whereby supporters make regular automatic donations based on the plant production cost of $4 per plant.
- First location: Grounds of Methodist Mission, Company Bay, Otago Peninsula.
- Current location: McTaggart Street, Company Bay, Otago Peninsula.
- 2009: Care for the Wild’s (UK) Adopt-a-penguin campaign; Donate-a-Tree supporters; Black & White Company; White Cloud Trading (UK); Penguin Fund of Japan; Charity Aid Foundation (UK); Otago Peninsula Lions Club; Chemistry and Biosphere Conference
- 2008: YEPT member bequest; Donate-a-Tree supporters; Otago Peninsula Lions Club
- 2007:Dunedin City Council Coastal Conservation Project.
- 2006: Dunedin City Council Community Grant, Dunedin City Council Coastal Conservation Project, WWF-NZ Habitat Protection Fund.
- 2005: Nursery staff were sponsored by Pacific Development and Conservation Trust to raise plants for our own habitats, assist community groups with native revegetation projects, and raise awareness of conservation issues in Coastal Otago.
- 2004: Nursery staff were sponsored by Vodafone NZ Foundation “World of Difference” programme to raise native plants for the yellow-eyed penguin habitats in Coastal Otago and assist community groups.
- 2004: Nursery improvements and plant operating costs were supported by WWF-NZ to allow us to host greater numbers of people and to give surplus plants to like-minded conservation groups.
- 2003: Sub-committee of volunteers operated the nursery following the retirement of the previous manager, Jim Ellison, in 2002.
The nursery hosts ‘Volunteer Wednesdays’ that give individuals the opportunity to be involved in conservation work. Its popularity has increased over time. If you are interested in coming out to the nursery, please contact the Trust office for directions (03 479 0011).
There can be from six to 16 volunteers at the nursery on any Wednesday. “It’s developed into quite a community. We have a lot of fun, and learn so much from each other.”
The volunteers contribute their own gardening skills and knowledge of native plants. They also provide invaluable labour, not only growing plants but also producing thousands of wire plant cages and pegs.
The Trust shares resources, skills and experience with the community at the nursery. At present arrangements have been made to accommodate the needs of the Department of Conservation, Dunedin Conservation Corps, University of Otago, Kereru Recovery, Tomahawk-Smaills Beachcare Trust, Portobello School and Pikao (Pingao) Recovery Group to use the nursery resources to grow pikao and to hold plants until they reach the optimum size for planting out.
A number of other groups including schools, conservation groups and institutions such as the Otago Polytechnic and DCC Task Force Green, come to the nursery to help with plant propagation and learn about the work of the Trust. Schools from all over Otago pay regular visits. “Schools come to learn and to help. The children want to work. They want to help save yeps.”
Youth Development Programme contact details:
Department of Conservation
PO Box 5244, Dunedin
Phone 03 477 0677
Pikao Recovery Group
The Trust is extremely grateful to the Pikao Recovery Group for providing funding to purchase an automatic watering system. The Trust nursery is an ideal facility, with room and resources, to raise a large number (10,000) of pikao plants. The Trust has re-established pikao on a 200 metre stretch of beach at our Tavora Reserve in North Otago, one of the first beaches in Otago where marram grass has been entirely replaced by pikao and other indigenous plants.
Department of Conservation
PO Box 5244
Phone 03 477 0677
During the next five years the nursery will produce an average of fifteen thousand plants per year for a number of habitats, some owned by the Trust, some owned in partnership, some managed by the Trust, and private habitats to which the Trust contributes plants and management. These properties, which range from Tavora in North Otago, along the Otago Peninsula and as far south as Te Rere in the Catlins, South Otago, include the new Long Point/Irahuka Reserve.