Olive Webb with the Diana Isaac Cup.

Diana Isaac Cup Winners

02.08.2018

More than fifty guests showed up to the Friends of Te Ara Kākāriki Meeting on Thursday, July 26th at Lincoln University. They came to hear the latest updates of the Trust, hear from the keynote speaker Libby Harrison (Deputy Chair WWF), and to witness the awarding of the Diana Isaac Cup for outstanding native restoration projects in Selwyn.

Trustee, Wim Nijhof began the evening with a reminder of the Trust’s vision to create a greenway of native Greendots forming stepping stones for native birds and invertebrates to spread out across the Canterbury Plains. Wim summarised the Trust’s achievements to date, sharing with guests how the Trust’s volunteers had assisted landowners to plant over 57,000 native plants in Canterbury over eleven years. Once the coming Spring plantings are complete, that figure will increase to an impressive 73,000 plants which would not be possible without the current main funders: Ministry for the Environment, Central Plains Water, Rata Foundation and the Selwyn District Council. Te Ara Kākāriki Public planting days are set to take place at three events in August and September this year with volunteers encouraged to register at www.kakariki.org.nz.

The idea of a legacy project as a new medium-term goal for Te Ara Kākāriki was presented. The project would ideally be six hectares, which is much larger than anything the Trust has worked on before and would likely be achieved in partnership with other organisations and funders. Ideally, these larger size Greendots are spaced every five kilometres across the Canterbury Plains, as theorised by local ecologists Meurk and Hall.

The history of the Canterbury Plains tells how over the past 150 years the decline of native remnants, due to human activity has resulted in there being only 0.5% of native cover. The ecologists explained the science behind TAK’s Greendot vision commenting that research has shown that birds disperse seeds 2.5km from their source, therefore planting Greendots every 5km will ensure a sustainable native landscape.

Libby Harrison praised attendees for getting involved in local conservation projects. Emphasising the fact that New Zealand’s ecosystems are unique, and many are threatened.

Five dedicated and praiseworthy landowners applied for this year’s Diana Isaac Cup. Bruce Rule and Catherine Ott of The Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust announced Hororata’s Olive Webb and Carol Gurney as deserved 2018 winners of the Diana Isaac Cup. The couple’s winning Greendot of over 3,000 native plants stood out for its well restored stream, encouraging native mudfish habitat and a wetland restoration area in process. Olive shared her pleasure that her original plantings were now over three metres tall and the waterway had transformed from ‘dirty’ to a beautiful environment which her grandchildren now play in. Their commitment to sharing their passion with the community is also acknowledged as they often give tours of the property to people popping in, and consequently several neighbours and friends are eager to undertake similar projects returning their land to native landscape.

The Isaac Conservation and Wildlife Trust assists Te Ara Kākāriki  with some ongoing funding for planting days.

Visit www.kakariki.org.nz to learn more.