Dig­ging deep for Ar­bor Day work at Lake Gem

The Northland Age - - Local News -

It was all hands on deck, or on spades, at Fri­day’s Ar­bor Day plant­ing at Lake Gem, with around 70 school chil­dren help­ing to plant 1000 na­tive trees.

Sum­mit Forests pro­vided the trees, bought from the Bush­land Trust. Trust spokesman Kevin Matthews says the two or­gan­i­sa­tions had been work­ing hand in hand for a num­ber of years to “re-veg” the area.

The block is owned by Sum­mit, which has made it a pub­lic space, and cre­ated a track al­low­ing the pub­lic to walk through the for­est to the beach.

Fri­day’s plant­ing in­cluded ka¯nuka, ma¯nuka, harakeke, ti kouka (cab­bage trees), houpara and a few po¯hutukawa. Mr Matthews said that thanks to a strong turnout from Pa­parore and Awanui schools, par­ents, fam­ily mem­bers and a crew from Nga¯i Takoto, it took just 90 min­utes to get them all into the ground.

“Started about 10, all over by 11.30, and the kids were still look­ing for trees to plant. Good to have them mean, hun­gry and still keen,” he said.

DOC re­warded the work­ers with sausages, ba­con butties and plat­ters of fresh fruit.

Karen Lu­cich thanked all in­volved on be­half of Sum­mit Forests. Dune lakes were rare, spe­cial ecosys­tems, she said, and North­land was very lucky to still have a sig­nif­i­cant num­ber of those that re­mained.

Lake Gem was fenced in 2010, with sup­port from North­land Re­gional Coun­cil, while the Bush­land Trust grows the eco-sourced seedlings and helps Sum­mit man­age the project.

“Pre­vi­ous plant­ings have seen Lake Gem come back from se­ri­ous degra­da­tion to an al­most pris­tine state. Lake Gem di­rectly feeds into Lake Ngatu, so this plant­ing also helps Lake Ngatu,” Mrs Lu­cich said.

DOC and Fish & Game mow the track and front pad­dock, which is used for waka ama events and the oc­ca­sional wed­ding, and the kuta beds have re­cov­ered, en­abling har­vest­ing for weav­ing.

“This place truly is a gem,” Mrs Lu­cich said.

PIC­TURE / SUP­PLIED

Ev­ery man and his dog turned up to be part of Fri­day’s Ar­bor Day plant­ing at Lake Gem.

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