Planting trees in a forest in the heart of Wellington

Planting trees in a forest in the heart of Wellington

On a beautiful Friday afternoon, a class of students took a break from studying, and planted over 100 trees to help make Wellington city even more beautiful.

When my programme coordinator announced an opportunity to plant trees on Mount Victoria, I was immediately excited to sign up. I’ve previously organised volunteer activities for my work team, and planned to continue volunteering once I arrived in New Zealand.

Between moving countries, sorting out visas, and starting classes I hadn’t even looked at what volunteer opportunities were available. I was happy to see that my fellow classmates were just as excited about volunteering and committed to making time for giving back in our already busy schedule.

On the day of our volunteer event, about 15 of my classmates and I walked over to Mount Victoria together. The sun was shining and the sky a perfect blue, it was a beautiful Friday afternoon and I was happy to be outside taking a break from studying.

Our leader Kiri from Department of Conservation greeted us with a smile then gave each of us a shovel and bright yellow vest before walking into the forest. We were planting saplings on a hillside near a walking track.

Kiri explained how deep to dig the holes for planting and how to make sure the little trees were secure in their new home. We all started digging, eager to fill the hillside with new growth. We ran into lots of roots and big worms but slowly the hillside started to fill with new plants.

We stopped to admire a pair of red parrots talking to each other in the trees above and looked closely at a hibernating cicada before burying it back beneath the ground.

Kiri told us about the various types of trees we were planting and explained how the kawakawa plant was good for everything from medicine to chocolate pairing.

A kawakawa plant.

A few hours later, we had planted 83 new trees and replanted 25 in a better location, bringing the total number of trees planted in a forest in the heart of Wellington to 8,343. The city has a goal of 15,000 new trees so there is still a lot of opportunity to contribute. There are events during the week and over the weekend for individuals or opportunities for groups with advanced booking available.

I enjoyed my afternoon outside, giving back to the Wellington community, supporting our environment and planting new trees. I hope to go back and check on the trees soon and I plan to volunteer in the future with Department of Conservation.

Amanda Conlon is studying towards a Master of User Experience Design, a Wellington ICT Graduate School programme delivered by Victoria University of Wellington’s School of Design.

Interested in sharing your experience? Read our submission guidelines and get in touch with your story ideas.