Stewart Island restoration project receives boost from Project Crimson

Committed to keeping the smallest of New Zealand’s major islands beautiful, Stewart Island Rakiura Community Environment Trust (SIRCET) manages a community nursery which grows and propagates native plants and makes them available for local restoration projects. SIRCET has received ongoing support from national conservation charity the Project Crimson Trust and is once again a recipient of funding following Project Crimson’s 2015 Community Restoration Programme.


Each year Project Crimson reviews applications and supplies trees or funding to groups and individuals around New Zealand who aspire to create a long-term benefit to their local community through conservation projects involving pohutukawa or rata.


SIRCET’s native plant nursery propagates many different native plants. It is a great resource for the local community, providing eco-sourced native species to replace weed species and restoration projects at Lonnekers Beach, Mill Creek and Harrold's Bay. Plants are also available to local residents for an affordable donation. Increasing the presence of natives in private gardens provides food for bird species protected by other SIRCET projects.


SIRCET nursery, photo credit Keri Moyle

“Stewart Island and its surrounding islands are sites where nationally-significant threatened plant species grow. The southern rata is an iconic native tree that is especially vulnerable to possum browse. Thanks to the ongoing support of Project Crimson we have been able to raise southern rata seedlings to plant back into areas where possum numbers are being controlled” says SIRCET coordinator, Letitia McRitchie. “In 2013-14, SIRCET produced 2435 plants (including southern rata) as a result of the hard work of volunteers and SIRCET staff, and with the help of funding from Project Crimson. We are delighted to receive funding again this year from Project Crimson to continue this important work”.


Joris de Bres, Chairman of Project Crimson says "This year's Community Restoration Programme is particularly special as the Trust celebrates its 25th anniversary. The fact that we are able to assist restoration programmes in Stewart Island is testament to the success of the Trust, which 25 years ago was focused solely on pohutukawa restoration work in Northland.  It's wonderful that over a quarter of a century our work has been able to spread throughout New Zealand, and we are thrilled that organisations such as SIRCET are in place to help even remote parts of New Zealand with revegetation projects."


Volunteers at work in SIRCET's nursery