KIERAN Hickey shows off some plants before introducing them to their new coastal home. Photos supplied

OPOTIKI’S Dunes Trail is in great shape, thanks to two recent planting days.

Bolstered by more than a dozen Whakatane Mill staff, volunteers dug in 1000 trees and plants along the trail near Wairakaia Road last month.

Among them were 100 of the nationally significant species, Euphorbia glauca or shore spurge.

Jim Robinson, of the Motu Trails Charitable Trust, said the plant had now spread along the trail to the point it was possibly the world’s largest population of the special, but no longer, rare plant.

Overall, the day was a success with a great atmosphere, Bay of Plenty Regional Council land management officer Tim Senior said.

“The weather was mild, and everyone really enjoyed getting outside and helping out,” he said. “It was fantastic to have support from a local industry to complement the many years of planting carried out by local community volunteers.”

The community turned out again last week, with more than 30 people digging in nearly 1000 more plants.

Mr Robinson said in spite of heavy showers volunteers’ spirits were not dampened, and the rain meant a good start for the plants.

He said the key species in that planting was harakeke, flax, selected to preserve the panoramic views around the two-kilometre mark of the trail.

Braving the elements, volunteers were also treated to refreshments following the planting day.

These efforts are a part of a biodiversity management plan, which has helped bolster the Dunes Trail by nearly 20,000 plants since 2012.

Each year, several thousand more plants are planted. Weed and occasional rabbit control is also carried out.

The regional council leads the project management, with costs shared with Opotiki District Council and the Department of Conservation.

Motu Trails Charitable Trust leads promotion and helps to co-ordinate planting efforts.

james.sandbrook@opotikinews.co.nz

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