Park’s cash for natives

Stumping up: Kiwi Birdlife Park owners Paul, left, and Sandra Wilson and park boss Paul Kavanagh with kowhai, pittosporum and lancewood native plants

Kiwi Birdlife Park owners are embarking on a new environmental initiative.

Paul and Sandra Wilson are stumping up cash for staff to plant a tree per day within the grounds.

Paul reckons it shows they’re doing their bit for climate change.

Sandra says it demonstrates the family-run Queenstown business is leading by example.

Since it opened 30-odd years ago, more than 12,000 trees have been planted. Paul says it’s unrecognisable compared to the early days, but he wants to do more.

He’s aware not everyone wants to ditch their motor, give up air travel or become a hippy, “but everyone can plant a tree”.

“That is something everyone can commit to, to help with climate change.”

The park has already pledged to plant 5500 native plants next year and chop down more than 100 mature wilding pines. This new initiative is separate, and will be paid for out of the Wilsons’ pockets.

The staff will plant a variety of natives, but the main species will be red and mountain beech, kowhai, ribbonwood, wineberry and some endangered local species like olearia hectorii.

The couple hope it will also encourage some rare local bird species like yellow-crowned kakariki, rifleman and kaka to the park.

Anyone wanting to volunteer to chop a pine or plant a native can contact the park directly.

Spring into action

Volunteers are invited to Wakatipu Reforestation Trust’s first spring planting day on Saturday.

The Whitechapel area by Arrow Junction is the first hotspot for new native plants.

There are five different plantings being hosted over the next six weeks, with each running on a Saturday from 9am to noon.

Volunteers needn’t have experience but are asked to bring gloves and a shovel if they have them.

For all dates, check out the trust’s Facebook page.