Things to do  |  27 Apr 2023

For nature lovers curious about plants, animals and fungi, the global bio-blitz City Nature Challenge that begins tomorrow should appeal.

Ōtautahi Christchurch is one of six cities across New Zealand taking part in the four-day event from Friday 28 April to Monday 1 May.

Participants find plants, animals and other creatures, take a photograph and share it via the free mobile app iNaturalist NZ – Mātaki Taiao.

Ecologist and NZ iNaturalist Trust chair Colin Meurk says it’s a great way to build ecological literacy in the community – within Aotearoa and across the world.

That’s because it’s not just New Zealand cities taking part. The City Nature Challenge is an international event that will see thousands of nature fans taking to streets, parks and backyards in hundreds of cities around the world.

Dr Meurk says participants can record everything from fish, fowl, flora, butterflies, fungi and frogs.

“This could be in the wild, in the garden, in footpath cracks or in forests and streams, along coasts, or growing on fence-posts.”

This year he is encouraging people to try beachcombing, tidal pools, rivers, and edible garden plants.

 “Maybe try a bit of foraging in those habitats this time – including the invertebrates that may be enjoying a feed, or spiders snaring them.”

Last year, over 1500 species were recorded. With your involvement we can do better this year.

Any resident or visitor in Greater Christchurch can participate in the challenge and there are several planned activities.

One of them is a ‘Ramble in the Red Zone’ with Christchurch City Council Park Rangers on Friday morning between 10am – 11am.

They’ll be joined by two lecturers from the University of Canterbury: Entomologist Rob Cruickshank and Biodiversity Projects Co-ordinator Seamus Moran.

To take part in the Red Zone Ramble, meet at 11 Retreat Road just before 10am tomorrow.

Other events include the Lincoln Envirotown Trust’s Mini Blitz in the Mahoe Native Reserve in Lincoln, 2-4pm on Saturday.

Find out more and join in at – load up through the App store or Google Play.