Waiwhakareke Arbor Day

July 2, 2024

On the 31st of May members of the HHS Environment Council took part in the 20th Anniversary of Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park planting. It was a three day event that was opened up for schools, businesses and the public alike with a target to plant 20,000 native plants.

The first planting took place in 2004 around the lake area.  Located off Brymer Road and Baverstock Road, it’s on the north-west side of Hamilton and next to the zoo. Education and recreation-wise it is a prime and accessible location. Essentially, Waiwhakareke is about reconstructing Hamilton’s indigenous ecosystems.  This 65.5 hectare park began from an idea of being a ‘living museum’ to which each year they build upon and repair.

Due to Friday being a Teachers’ Only Day around the region only eight students from the Environment Council attended the Arbor Day Anniversary.  In addition, we were the only Secondary School to attend the event.  We shared the return bus ride with the class of Yr9s from Berkley Normal Middle School.  Special thanks needs to be given to Ken Millwood, Hamilton City Council Zoo’s Education Team Leader, who organised all logistics.  

A highlight from the day was special guest Ruud Kleinpaste, aka ‘the Bugman’.  Who is known for his work in entomology, Ministry of Agriculture and being a presenter.  He took the time to educate and entertain students, including challenging phobias by allowing spiders and weta to crawl up limbs and across faces.  

Those members of the Environment Council that made it out on site valued being a part of this special anniversary event and its kaupapa.