Christmas comes early to Rameka

August is a great time for introducing young native seedlings to the land at Rameka because it’s at the end of winter when the ground is still nice and damp, the days are cool – but starting to warm up gently – and the chance of rain to water the stressed plants is high. But that same winter weather can make it hard to coordinate good planting days.

Not this time though.

Rameka put on stellar weather, day after day after day …

This planting had special significance as it would see the start of a forest dedicated to long-standing Project Rameka supporter Martin Langley, who passed away earlier in the year. We aimed to plant 1,000 trees in his honour in a gentle swale close to the top of the project.

Martin’s trees ready to plant

On a fine Thursday morning, Amy, Archie, Bronnie, Jonathan and first-time visitor Helen Kettles (commonly known as Captain Kettles) began laying out 300 plants in preparation for a tree-planting blitz with Motupipi Primary School in the afternoon. The day was so still, you could hear every buzzing bee in the flowering tree lucerne, every flap of kereru wing as they blundered from tree to tree, every indignant weka squawk, with replies ringing out from around the valley. Yes, as much as we were gearing up for an end-of-winter planting, the bird life was already well into preparations for spring time.

Bronnie, Helen, Amy and Archie get ready for the planting blitz
Bronnie, Helen, Amy and Archie get ready for the planting blitz

Pretty soon, we spied a train of cars chugging its way up the hill and the planting was on! Two classes of eager year 4, 5 and 6 students and multiple parents and teachers made short work of the 300 plants we’d laid out for them.

Amy leads the charge of Motupipi Primary School children up to the project

Within the hour, the job was done, five finger, lemonwood, kapuka and wineberry freckled the site and car loads of happy children were waving their way back down the hill. Hopefully in years to come, they’ll be back, peering up through a lush grove of trees that have outgrown them in no time at all!

Motupipi Primary School celebrate their planting

For the rest of us, it was time to lay out the next 700 plants for the Saturday community planting, and still the weather held.

Planters flocked from Wellington, Nelson and Golden Bay to cover the hillside in native trees and pay tribute to Martin. The sun shone and by early afternoon, all 1,000 trees were in the ground and everyone sat back in the sun to admire their work.

Planting in progress on Martin’s Trees site

It felt good to give something back to the land. And with the place absolutely humming with bird life, it felt even better to think of creating even more forest for the birds to thrive in.

Good weather, good will and great results – it really felt like Christmas had come early to Rameka in 2019.

Satisfied planters relaxing at the end of the day

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