Seed Preparation, Planting and Potting

Seedling Tree Nursery

Plant nursery area at Porirua College

Growing Unit in the nursery area at Porirua College
pre 2012

The "Trees For Survival" Nursery was established at Porirua College in 2002.

"Trees For Survival" is a programme for schools who can receive funding from the "World Wildlife Fund" and the "Stephen Tindall Foundation", for growing native trees and plants.  These must be planted in school grounds or handed on to community restoration groups such as the Friends of Maara Roa.

Since it was set up, Friends of Maara Roa volunteers have assisted in the Nursery, and it is where thousands of the seedlings we plant out, have been grown each year since.

It has been of inestimable value to the environment in this area, that Neil Bellingham, then a science teacher at Porirua College, also has been a leading light in the Maara Roa project, particularly in the planning and leadership of the re-forestation work since our inception.

Nursery shifted to Aotea College, April 2012

The Nursery we use to grow trees for the Maara Roa restoration project has been shifted and re-established at Aotea College, Porirua.  Building redevelopment at Porirua College precipitated the move in April 2012.

See the News Archive 2012 page for several stories about the shift:

Also, read the Kapi-Mana News article: Kapi-Mana News, 22 May 2012 :: Nursery on move - Cardboard milk cartons needed

"Potting-On" - Growing Native Tree Seedlings

Seedlings in root trainers

Seedlings in root trainers

Preparing milk cartons

Preparing milk cartons



Tray of seedlings ready to plant out

Tray of seedlings ready to plant out

"Potting-on" mornings are fun!!

One of the ways to help the Maara Roa restoration project is to volunteer at the "Trees For Survival" Nursery at Aotea College.  We spend a morning a week with "our hands in the soil", growing-on young native trees and plants which have been germinated from eco-sourced seed.

Currently these mornings are held at Porirua College every Thursday in school terms.  Want further details or would like to help? 

The tiny new trees come in "cell-plugs" or "root trainers" and most of them are potted-on into cardboard milk cartons, to be grown for two years or more till big enough to be planted.  The milk cartons are collected by supporters from the region, and prepared for use and stored at our Storage Workshop at Glenview School.

The seedlings themselves are purchased from specialised nurseries or donated from the Greater Wellington nursery.  The work of volunteer Friends means that the "cell-plug" size plant ($1.00 each) is worth $5.00 or more when planted out - saving thousands of dollars in restoration funding simply by using our own hands in an enjoyable task.

Check out our Nursery Photo Gallery page, too.

See Picking and potting notes for "how to do it yourself" information.

Collecting Seeds for Growing

Volunteers who have some experience with our Tree Planting and Care work can seek training and permission to learn how to collect and prepare seeds for on-growing at the Nursery.  This takes some skill and we have some members who could train you once you have been involved with our work for a while.  See Picking the seeds from the bush for more details.

Who gets the Nursery's trees?

"Trees For Survival" Nurseries are required to grow native trees for school grounds or for approved community plantings, and the seedlng trees from them must be donated to such projects, not sold.

So the Maara Roa restoration project has benefitted by an average of 4,500 trees per year from the Porirua College Nursery since it was set up in 2002.

How do the seedlings get to planting sites?

A trailer loaded with seedlings and farm bike, with its own trays of seedlings: 21 September 2009.

A trailer loaded with seedlings and farm bike with its own trays of seedlings.

Ever wondered: "How do all those nursery seedlings get onto the planting sites?"

There is no road access to the sites, and it would be impossible for volunteers to carry them all.

The answer is that Greater Wellington Parks' staff help us do it.  They collect seedlings from our nursery at Aotea College, and in some cases, from some Friends volunteer's homes.

They transport them first by one of the Park utes, with trailer well loaded with trays of seedlings and a farm bike, with its own trays of seedlings tied on, too.  Then, on reaching the Takapu Entrance to the park, the farm bike is put down, the trailer attached to it and reloaded.

Then by a slow journey down the narrow Takapu Track, the men arrive at the main plant depot in the bush.  Friends volunteers meet them and help unload and store the trees, ready for the next planting day.

It is quite a big task!

What we plant and protect

See our What we plant and protect page.  This page is only intended to help you with identifying those plants (as many as possible) that we are using (planting) or protecting in this project.