The Trust’s own nursery
The Trust raises about 15,000 plants each year in its own nursery from locally collected seeds. The planting of native trees and flaxes to provide sheltered breeding sites is one of the Trust’s most successful strategies.
The nursery is a 100% community venture. Its sustainability depends on the generosity of benefactors and hundreds of volunteers who help to nurture the plants. From six to 16 are present any Wednesday, contributing their own garden skills and knowledge of native plants, and producing thousands of wire plant cages and pegs.
The 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 has traditionally run on a break-even basis, relying on donations from organisations and individuals. Since the 2008/2009 financial year the Trust has been unable to secure sufficient sponsorships or grants to offset the operating costs, so plant production was increased to enable the sale of plant stock to assist. These sales assist the nursery to remain a viable unit and a vital part of the Trust’s core operations.
History of the YEPT Nursery
The Trust’s nursery was established in 1988 with a $25,000 grant from the New Zealand Lottery Board. The first nursery was established in 1989 in the grounds of Dunedin Methodist Mission Home at Company Bay on the Otago Peninsula. In those days, the nursery annually produced about 5000 plants. Jim Ellison was employed to oversee the production of plants, and to coordinate planting, fencing and weed control in the yep habitats.
In 1993, the nursery moved to private land in Company Bay, where there was more area for growing flaxes and installing a glasshouse, shade house and tool shed. Unfortunately the site has very poor drainage, which will limit the number of plants grown until funding is obtained to overcome this difficulty.
Seven years later, in 2000, the nursery moved next door to a decommissioned Dunedin City Council sewerage plant, leased to the Trust for a peppercorn rental. This present site has even more room for plant propagation, a sunnier aspect and lockable buildings.
When Jim Ellison retired after thirteen years in 2002, Margaret Suman and Anita Pillai voluntarily managed the nursery for a year. In 2003 they won funding to pay for their salaries and expenses as co-managers. When Margaret moved to Nelson in 2010, Anita Pillai took sole responsibility for the role of nursery manager until July 2015. Since then the Nursery has been ably supervised by Louise Ashton.
Contact the nursery
Phone: the Trust office on 03 4790011 for the relevant phone number