Banks Peninsula: Akaroa Area School – Te Umu Te Rehua Reserve

Banks Peninsula: Akaroa Area School – Te Umu Te Rehua Reserve

Image: Jayson Crew

Akaroa Area School:                 Te Umu Te Rehua Reserve

Summary

  • Inspired by fellow student from Sweden, Greta Thunberg, year 13 students at Akaroa Area School (Fig. 1) decided to take action to fight climate change by reforesting the nearby Te Umu Te Rehua Hammond Point Reserve, which extends into Akaroa Harbour north of the town of Akaroa (top image, Figs. 2 & 3 & Video 1).
  • In recognition of the success of their legacy project, in 2020 Akaroa Area School won first place at the annual Canterbury Aoraki Conservation Board Awards (Fig. 4).
Fig. 1: Akaroa Area School students are now kaitiaki of Te Umu Te Rahua (Image: Akaroa Area School)
Fig. 1: Akaroa Area School students are now kaitiaki of Te Umu Te Rahua (Image: Akaroa Area School)
Fig.2: Volunteers planting. (Image: Jayson Crew)
Fig.2: Volunteers planting. (Image: Jayson Crew)
Video 1: Students at Akaroa Area School outline the steps they took to help combat climate change.

How this helps mitigate and adapt to the   impacts of climate change

    • Reduces soil erosion (Fig. 3). This is particularly important as weather is predicted to intensify and sea levels are rising. Less erosion means less sediment washed into the ocean. Too much sediment would otherwise smother and kill coastal and marine ecosystems including salt marshes and seaweed (both of which absorb large quantities of carbon dioxide).
    • Increases habitats for endemic taonga species including insects and birds that pollinate plants and help the soil absorb carbon dioxide
  • Provides a new source of seeds and a nodal point from which native plants can spread along the coast
  • Raises public awareness of climate change and the role of healthy biodiversity
  • Demonstrates how everyone can work together to restore and protect our amazing places
  • Healthy ecosystems are sources of mahinga kai, helping us become more resilient as the climate changes
Fig. 3: The headland is subject to intense erosion. It has such variable aspects and terrain that the types of plants varied across very short distances (Image: Akaroa Area School)
Fig. 3: The headland is subject to intense erosion. It has such variable aspects and terrain that the types of plants varied across very short distances (Image: Akaroa Area School)

Key actions

  • Consultation with and agreement from landowner
  • Sought advice from local trust
  • Sought advice and funding from council
  • Created and/or sourced and adapted restoration and management plans:
    • Health and Safety
    • Planting
    • Predator control (to come later as needs and budget determines)
  • Involved the community: local newspapers, social media, word of mouth
  • Attracted volunteers: students, parents, teachers, community (Fig. 7)
  • Eco-sourced native plants
  • Sourced funding for stock-proof fencing (Fig. 3)
  • Sourced long term local business sponsor to maintain project
  • Created (video) diary of project (Video 1)
  • Ensured succession planning (younger students at school)
Fig. 4: Teacher and students accepting the 2020 Aoraki Conservation Award.
Fig. 4: Teacher and students accepting the 2020 Aoraki Conservation Award.
Fig. 5: Location map. (Image: Hugh Wilson)
Fig. 5: Location map. (Image: Hugh Wilson)
Fig. 6: Planting plan was carefully designed to accommodate for the highly varied topography and aspect. (Image: Hugh Wilson)
Fig. 6: Planting plan was carefully designed to accommodate for the highly varied topography and aspect. (Image: Hugh Wilson)

Resources and contacts

 

References and further reading