The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The next best time is now. ~Chinese Proverb

Come join SFS for our Rainforest Management Studies summer programme and you will have the opportunity to plant trees in an exciting ecological restoration project in New Zealand.

CUE Haven, an hour north of Auckland city on the Kaipara Harbour, was a 59 acre farm when Tom and Mahrukh Stazyk bought the property. Tom and Mahrukh have established CUE Haven as a place for Cultivating Understanding and Enlightenment and are busy converting the former farm back to native forest. Approximately 24% of the property was already covered in native forest and wetlands and the rest is steadily being revegetated to restore connectivity between the forest remnants. This will enhance biodiversity and wildlife, and also provide headwater protection of the stream tributary that discharges into the Kaipara Harbour. The intention is to create a wetland and forest reserve that the community can enjoy for generations.

CUE Haven restoration will also provide strategic forest linkage with the Mataia Restoration Project on an adjacent property. Part of Mataia is being restored for wildlife, including kiwi, with the first North Island Brown Kiwi released there in May 2013.

Last year, our Rainforest Management Studies programme visited CUE Haven to learn about restoration and to roll up our sleeves and volunteer for the project. We worked at planting slow growing canopy trees such as totara, puriri, kahikatea, and taraire amongst pioneer trees that were planted in prior years. We also help to construct a boardwalk and over the two days, students moved back and forth between the teams so they had a chance to work on each of the projects. Over our visit we managed to plant almost five hundred trees. On my visit in January, I was thrilled to see how well “our” trees are growing and to see the areas designated for planting in 2015.

This coming summer we are scheduled to assist over the road at Mataia and also to plant more rainforest trees at CUE Haven. This will be pioneer planting involving fast growing trees like manuka, kanuka, and karamu which create the initial cover to shade out weeds. The land designated for the planting is already being prepared.

It’s ready and waiting for you to join us.