Why soil needs to be cherished
Let’s make sure we look after our plants and wild life
The biggest threat to Porirua Harbour is soil washing off land into streams that empty into the harbour.
Soil is valuable. We need it to grow food. It takes about 10,000 years to form and one big rain to wash away if it is left bare.
The easiest way to keep your soil at your place is to plant into it.
We want to help you use native plants to make your garden and back yard even more beautiful.
By planting native plants you can attract fascinating native animals, such as birds, lizards and butterflies, and keep your valuable soil on your land, where it belongs.
Lizards love messy, untidy gardeners. They need to hide from predators like rats, cats and hedgehogs, so they like plants close together.
Good plants for lizards are native ferns, tussock grasses and sedges, New Zealand daphne, flaxes and astelias.
Muehlenbeckias and divaricating coprosmas attract birds, lizards and native copper butterflies and are currently very popular for adding texture to gardens.
Good plants to make your garden a feast for nectar- feeding birds and lizards include rata species, manuka and koromiko.
Fruit eaters prefer coprosmas, iconic nikau palms and kawa- kawa, also known as the New Zealand pepper tree.
Kawakawa leaves make a refreshing peppery tea and the ripe fruit tastes like papaya with peppery seeds. You can even burn dried leaves as an insect repellent.
Check out doc.govt.nz for more garden plants that provide food for native creatures all year round.
One of the lizards most likely found in your garden is the common skink. They love to lie in the sun, so look for them on sunny days. Common skinks range in colour from striped brown in grass to dark colours on the coast.
Lizards are an important part of our native ecosystems, so when you keep them safe in your garden, you’re helping to repair the complex system of plants and animals that keep our streams and harbour healthy.
Students at Pukerua Bay School have created a skink garden at school. They provided flat sunny spots for the lizards to lie in and lots of safe hiding places.
Teacher Andrew Wooster said the skink garden helped his students enjoy and understand nature and sustainability.
Check out our website for previous articles about Porirua Harbour, gw.govt.nz/porirua.
Jo Fagan represents Porirua Harbour Strategy Group.
Common skinks can be found throughout the Kapi-Mana area, often in your garden.