Canterbury Volunteer NZ - Hamish Fairburn

It was with great pleasure that we listened to Hamish present an interesting overview of the work the CVNZ group is involved in around the Canterbury & Westland areas.
Over the year they have successfully engaged with 14,306 people and have delivered 50,840 hours of conservation work. They have employed and trained 180 participants through a Canterbury Works Programme and have weeded and mulched 688,845m3 of land (the equivalent of 68.3 Rugby fields). They have gathered 18,270kg of rubbish and planted 161,117 native plants and shrubs. Makes one feel tired just writing about it ! An amazing amount of work organised with 5 paid staff members and an army of dedicated volunteers.
They organised the “Mother of all Cleanup” days throughout Christchurch collecting 9,900kg of rubbish over a weekend. Over the last 6 years CVNZ have taken180 people through a conservation skills programme to help them gain employment and have had a 70% success rate.
They also run a pest trapping group around the whole of the Canterbury and Lyttleton basin areas which is proving highly successful in eradicating rats, possums, stoats and other pests. They are seeing a resurgence of native birdlife appear and the vegetation is beginning to take hold and grow.
Hamish has been involved with Rotary over the last 4 years through Liz Courtney, the District partnership representative on the Rotary Peace, Remembrance, Community and Forrest Park, in the Dallington Landing Red Zone. Liz has promoted this project to the Rotary Clubs around Christchurch. It has involved many diverse groups in Christchurch to join the planting days over that period and was a popular place for many to enjoy a day out in nature during Covid times. The last of 42,000 native trees and shrubs were planted last May 2023 and the Rotary Trees Trust has recently donated another 10,000 natives to be planted shortly.
Hamish also told us of recent plans to establish a plant nursery at the Climate Action Campus, which is located at the former Avonside Girls site. The Climate Action Campus is the perfect location for Conservation Volunteers (CV) to build a new nursery, and would make a positive impact, working with future generations, teaching them about plants and their important function in our environment.
It’s actual position within the Otakaro Avon River Corridor is excellent with the restoration work they are doing in East Christchurch. There is abundant space, that is ready to go with plenty of water on tap. This is an opportunity to establish an important legacy project. Their intention is to initially grow native plants for both the Dallington Landing and Avon River Corridor projects and possibly the Port Hills. They would work closely with schools coming to the Climate Action Campus to learn about sustainability, locals, residential volunteers and the Conservation Work Skills pre-employment programme which is a partnership with MSD and was mentioned earlier.
The opportunities here are really quite staggering and there is currently plenty of demand for native plants in the region.
We wish Hamish and his team well as they carry on with the wonderful work they are involved in.