$1000 grant protects plants from harsh weather

(L-r) John Spiller, Fritz Retief and Allan Riley at Mangemangeroa Reserve. Times photo Farida Master

Even as trees are being recklessly chopped down to create high density housing in Auckland, groups of volunteers are working hard to ensure Mangemangeroa Reserve–the lungs of east Auckland -are maintained.

The Friends of Mangemangeroa were thrilled when Fritz Retief, a nature-loving employee with Auckland International Airport (AIAL), nominated them for an Auckland Airport staff grant.

The Friends of Mangemangeroa are an environmentally friendly group supported by Forest and Bird, Rotary, schools as well as Auckland Council to replant, restore and maintain the bush.

AIAL makes 30 grants of $1000 to schools and community groups across Auckland and provides and an opportunity each year for staff members to name the causes they would like to support.

The grant will be used for green plant protectors to help shrubs survive better in harsh weather, says Allan Riley.

Fritz, a senior health and safety business partner who has been a part of a tramping club for more than 21 years and knows a number of trampers including Howick Local Board member John Spiller, says, “Having worked with a wide cross-section of groups across all ages and ethnicities at the scenic reserve I believe the work they do is fantastic!

“I nominated them so that so they can continue their dedicated work to restore and protect the native bush in the Mangemangeroa Valley Reserve.”

Fritz, a senior health and safety business partner at Auckland Airport hands over a $1000 grant to Allan Riley(left) for the Mangemangeroa Reserve while John Spiller happily looks on.

Spiller, Howick Local Board’s Environment portfolio lead, says, “The Howick Local Board views the Mangemangeroa reserve as one of the premier recreation reserves in the Howick ward and is thrilled that AIAL have voted to grant $1000 towards enhancement projects for this special place.

“I am particularly pleased that the donated funds will be put towards protecting newly planted trees and shrubs that could otherwise be damaged or destroyed by pests.

“It is great to get a new community partner in AIAL who have acknowledged the importance of assisting the regeneration of eco-sourced native plants within the reserve–which will in turn enhance the experience for the wider community.”

Allan Riley, chairman of the Friends of Mangemangeroa, who has over the years propelled the restoration work that has seen the bush edge extend through pioneer species planting, says, “The generous donation from AIAL has paid for plant protectors which we are currently placing around trees planted this season.

“Plants enclosed within these green corflute protectors survive better in harsh weather conditions.

“They are less likely to suffer damage from the pukekos which pull out the young plants to get to the worms in the ground, and hares which love to ‘chomp’ them off.”