Rural comradery shines at planting day


The saying many hands make light work rung true when 60 volunteers recently gathered at a farm in the Bay of Plenty to plant 3000 trees. 

The planting is part of the Bay of Plenty Regional Council’s (BOPRC) environmental programme, where the Council partners with farms, in this case a Te Whenua Whanau property near Whakatane, to fence waterways and plant them out.

Last year, 2.5km of waterways on the property were fenced and when the time came to riparian plant it, the local community were at the ready. 

Jared Watson, farmer in the catchment area, says it was a great display of rural comradery.

“There were Farm Source employees, farmers from the catchment area, local iwi, DairyNZ and people from the BOPRC. Everyone just got stuck in,” says Jared. 

“The day actually exceeded my expectations. You really don’t know who is going to come and help. You can do all the pre-work and engagement, but it really depends on what people are up to on the day. It was really supported across the community.

It’s with this support that we can hopefully achieve the outcome we want to achieve – cleaning up waterways and improving water quality.

Jared Watson, Bay of Plenty farmer

Jared says all farmers in the catchment are highly engaged when it comes to the environment, having all completed Farm Environment Plans and know where improvement is needed. 

“We’ve been quite proactive, using science to get us going in the right direction. It’s the saying, regulate yourselves or be regulated. The Regional Council has been great at encouraging farmers to plant. They supply the resources and we provide the labour.”

Nick Doney, Sustainable Dairying Advisor, says it’s about working together for the common cause of the environment. 

“Farmers understand the importance of healthy riparian zones. They help filter nutrients and sediment. That and the tucker at lunchtime was probably why so many people came out to help!”

These planting efforts are part of the long-term vision to improve water quality in the river and reduce contamination of the pipi bed at Te Ahiaua in the Waiōtahe Estuary. The pipi bed is a significant traditional food basket for tangata whenua and many other locals.