Otukaikino tree planting
Image: James Mortimer | DOC


Help New Zealand with its goal to plant 1 billion trees by 2027 and learn about the role they play in protecting our country. Earn a Kiwi Guardians medal for becoming a tree planter.

Download this activity

Plant a tree activity (PDF, 236K)

Tree planter medal.

What you need

A native tree, a fork or spade and some compost.

What to do

1. Find a good location

Make sure your tree can grow to full height without blocking sun or views, or get in the way of power lines, driveways, etc.

Try to picture your garden in five to ten years' time. How big will your tree be? Does it have enough space to grow?

If you don’t have a garden, or one with enough space, see if a community group is holding a tree planting session. Remember – you need permission from the landowner before you start digging and planting.

2. Prepare your area

  1. Mark out the area to be planted.
  2. Mow the lawn and lift the turf out.
  3. Loosen up the soil using a fork or spade then add well-rotted manure or compost.
  4. Keep your tree cool and damp until you're ready to plant.

3. Plant your tree

  1. Make sure that the site is damp but not flooded.
  2. Dig a hole wide and deep enough for the tree's roots to spread out.
  3. Remove your tree gently from its pot – be careful not to damage its roots.
  4. Make sure the roots are evenly spread, then place your tree straight into the hole.
  5. Cover the roots with soil, lightly firming it down as you go.
  6. Keep adding soil until the roots are covered, taking care not to bury the base of the trunk.
  7. Water your tree well.

4. Protect your tree

After planting your tree, spread wet newspapers around it, and cover with 100 mm of wet straw or compost. This will protect its roots, trap moisture and control weeds.

Water your tree once a week and keep the area weed-free.

Claim your Kiwi Guardians Toa Tiaki Rākau Tree Planter medal

Tell us about the tree you planted, where you chose to put it, and how the planting went, and we'll send you a Kiwi Guardians Toa Tiaki Rākau Tree Planter medal.

  • What type of tree did you choose?
  • What did you plant it – your garden or a local green space?
  • Are you making sure it gets all the water and nutrition it needs?
  • Have any birds visited it yet?

Complete the claim form to tell us about your activity, and we'll send you a medal. Each Kiwi Guardians action has a different medal – see how many you can collect.

Share what you did

The team at Toyota Kiwi Guardians would love to hear about what you did. Send us an email, or share something online using #KiwiGuardians, so we can share it with others. Visit Kiwi Guardians on Facebook.

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