15 Sep 2022

A community planting event on Saturday will mark two special anniversaries for one of Christchurch’s ecological treasures - the Ōruapaeroa Travis Wetland Reserve.

It is 30 years since a group of volunteers banded together to form the Travis Wetland Trust and 25 years since they achieved their goal of having the last, large freshwater wetland in Christchurch declared a reserve.

To mark the occasion, the Travis Wetland Trust has teamed up with Christchurch City Council’s regional rangers and Trees for Canterbury to organise a community planting event at nearby Anzac Reserve.

Sitting on either side of State Highway 74, Anzac Reserve is a remnant of a larger wetland and acts an important link between the Ōtākaro Avon River and Ōruapaeroa Travis Wetland, enabling water, native fish and birds to move between the two areas.

Some planting was done in Anzac Reserve a few years ago by the Avon Ōtākaro Network to enhance the linkage. Saturday’s community planting event will build on that mahi.

“We are hoping to get about a thousand native plants in the ground,’’ says Council Regional Parks Ranger John Skilton.

Mr Skilton is full of praise for the Travis Wetland Trust and the unwavering passion and commitment its members have shown over the past 30 years. He says most days of the week you can find Trust members helping in the 120-hectare reserve, working alongside park rangers to protect and enhance the ecology of the area.

“Their dedication is amazing – they give countless hours of their time on a voluntary basis,’’ Mr Skilton says.

Their work is paying off. Not only has Travis Wetland Reserve become an important habitat for native wetland plants and birds, it has also become a popular recreational spot for Christchurch residents, drawing thousands of visitors each month.

Travis Wetland Trust Chair Sean Ward says a growing number of people are discovering the beauty of Travis Wetland Reserve.

Visitor numbers have risen significantly over the past couple of years as COVID-19 lockdowns have encouraged more people to explore areas close to home.

“It rare to have such a large wetland inside the boundaries of a city and many people are really surprised when they visit. It is really nice the number of comments that we get from people about how much they are enjoying it,’’ Mr Ward says.

*The planting event on Saturday runs from 10am to midday. Access to Anzac Reserve is via Brooker Avenue (off New Brighton Road). There will be signs directing people to the planting. People wanting to take part should bring gloves and gumboots. There will be a barbeque afterwards for volunteers.