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Plant a Seed is one of Cardrona and Treble Cone’s ongoing conservation projects, aimed at restoring and regenerating the mauri (lifeforce) of te maunga.

The project will support the environment, returning it to a thriving and biodiverse landscape, with heaps of native plants and wildlife. Read below to understand why the project is so significant, its goals, achievements, and positive impacts on the maunga, and the wider ecosystem.

What is Plant a Seed?

Plant a Seed does what it says: planting new tussocks at Cardrona and Treble Cone and raising standards of best practice earthworks. Through a devised ‘Full Circle Concept’, we hope to improve the maunga biodiversity, protect and cultivate native flora, encourage native fauna, retain, and restore the natural landscape, and engage the community.

Enhancing biodiversity

By planting native shrubs and trees, the Plant a Seed project enhances the land, creating essential habitats for insects, invertebrates, and birds, increasing biodiversity. These plants provide vital nectar, pollen, and seeds, serving as a food source for various wildlife species. The presence of plants helps retain soil and nutrients and brings immense benefits to water quality.

Regenerative planting at Cardrona

2021 was a huge milestone for the mountains and resulted in continuous efforts to reduce waste even further and continue responsible waste disposal. Establishing a compost facility at Cardrona and a worm farm at Treble Cone, turns our organic waste into valuable compost, which we can then use in our Plant a Seed Projects, closing the cycle of waste.

Cardrona's Composting Plant

Transforming the Landscape

The ultimate vision for Cardrona is to transform it from a monoculture of grasslands and shrubland to a thriving, biodiverse, and wild landscape. To achieve this, the project collaborates with the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network, which provides valuable information about native plant species in the area.

Community planting

In winter 2023, waiting for the snow to fall proved productive for our maunga teams. They were put to work and assisted with planting sessions in the Wānaka Community with Te Kākano and Wai Wānaka. Great for knowledge sharing and friendships forming.

Project costs

Plant A Seed project requires investment to achieve its goals. The costs amount to approximately $8,750, which includes expenses for new plants, plant guards, irrigation installation, fencing, and wages for the workforce engaged in planting.

With help from our partners like Icebreaker who last year donated $15,000 to the project, we can meet these costs.

Treble Cone: expanding the planting

Building on the success of the Cardrona project, Plant a Seed extended its mission to Treble Cone in 2022. At the access road base, 150 natives were planted, and the project aims to continue expanding the planting efforts to restore and regenerate the area.

Looking to the future

Looking long term, we’re ambitiously thinking of planting ten thousand trees in ten years. ‘Pringles’, an area with rare orange spotted geckos, is primed as a location for planting and has the capacity for long-term development. Check out the planting areas below!

This year, in 2023, Cardrona will be hosting a  Plant a Seed event on their closing day, hoping to plant around 700 native plants in collaboration with icebreaker. We encourage you to decorate your plant marker, so you can come back to check on how your plant is doing down the tracks. 

About the Author

Eleanor Stephens