Minister of Conservation Kate Wilkinson will join local rugby legend Tane Norton to plant the first of 5000 native trees at a huge public planting event marking the reopening of Ōtukaikino wetland reserve on Saturday 3 September.
The tree-planting is the first of 17 Living Legends conservation project events being held around the country during Rugby World Cup 2011.
“It will be a year since this rare wetland remnant was closed by the September 4 earthquake and DOC has worked hard over the last few months to repair the damage to the boardwalk bridges and tracks and fill in large cracks in the open ground.
“Though it hasn’t been all bad news as the water table has risen by 200-300mm - bringing it up to an ideal wetland level,” Ms Wilkinson says.
“The Living Legends planting on Saturday is perfectly timed to mark the reopening of this beautiful reserve.
“Planting 5,000 native trees here will make a massive contribution to restoring this wetland to its former glory.
“Living Legends is a fantastic opportunity for locals and visitors to help enhance New Zealand’s unique environment, so bring your gumboots and some muscle and muck in for Ōtukaikino.”
Ōtukaikino was established as a 'Living Memorial' in a partnership between Lamb and Hayward Funeral Directors, Te Ngāi Tūāhuriri Rūnanga and the Department of Conservation.
The Wai Tapu site was once used for burial preparations and is of significance for Ngāi Tahu whanui.