Mōkihi’s Family-friendly, flexible volunteering creates connection to nature!

volunteers at a planting site with the river in the background

The Mokihi Reforestation Trust engages, motivates and educates the greater Cromwell community in ecological restoration at various planting sites on publicly accessible land. We asked Administrator Jane Powe to tell us more about their mahi.

“Our trust exists with community in mind and their involvement is the essence of our trust- they are always welcome! For example, we have signage at Richards beach where we invite bikers and walkers to take a break and help nature have a drink from the water drums as part of their outing. Our trustees ensure these are kept full, but without the help of community and volunteers, they would not be able to maintain planting sites.”, says Jane.

They have up to 180 volunteers, and usually an average of 30 or so come along to their ‘Planting Day’ sessions. These often include families. Over the course of 2 hours, volunteers might engage in planting native plants, stone mulching and watering up to 100 plants each time as a group. The session ends with a drink, some light refreshments and time for the volunteers to chat and bond.

In addition to the impact volunteers have, the connections created are an added benefit. When asked what makes their volunteers special, Jane said, “They bring their friends and families, particularly children, along to our planting day. We feel so fortunate that these children are involved. They grow and flourish along with the planting sites, and they will be the ones who will get to see the impact as they grow into adulthood.”

“What’s great is that volunteers do not have to attend every session. They can join whenever they’re able, without pressure of committing every week. This flexibility means we have a variety of people at any one planting day from our community.”

Chairman Blair Walter said “it’s reassuring to see a mixture of both new and familiar faces volunteering on Saturday, as it reflected just how much the community had embraced the project since its formation in 2016.”

The support for the trust’s work had been bolstered by the increased level of public awareness about the climate crisis. It also helped that its sites now supported more than 6000 plants between them. Seeing the plants growing and thriving keeps people motivated. Jane says, “We really appreciate that our regular volunteers are a real mixture of people brought together by a passion and an understanding of the importance of reforestation around the Cromwell Basin.”

Mōkihi offer many ways for the community to connect to nature. In addition to planting days, they organise educational talks a few times a year that are well attended. They also have an annual nature day with special guests such as bug man Ruud Kleinpaste, truly offering community engagement, education and enrichment. A huge thanks to the trustees and volunteers of Mōkihi Trust for all they do for the community and environment!

Keen to get involved? Read about their roles here.