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Protecting our precious places

Ruahine School Bush QEII covenant

Guaranteed access for students

South-west of Dannevirke, a small remnant of bush next to Ruahine School alongside the Mangapukakakahu Stream has been protected in perpetuity with an 0.74 ha QEII covenant to guarantee access for students from the school.

The owners, John and Debra Barrow, retired the land from their dairy farm some years ago, allowing the school students to use the bush for projects.

Supported by Massey University, Horizons Regional Council and Project Green, they have carried out revegetation work with the aim of increasing native birdlife by providing food sources from native plants.

Protected forest remnant Photo: Bill Wallace

Above: John Barrow next to the protected lowland forest remnant that has totara, kowhai, titoki, tawa, kahikatea and cabbage trees in the canopy and an understorey of mahoe and coprosma.

The stream has a good diversity of aquatic indigenous species including dwarf galaxia, koura and longfin eels.

‘The children have always come through the bush to see the eels,’ says John Barrow.

‘Protecting the bush was a way of making sure that they continue to have access for that and their projects.’

Ruahine School students planting totara Photo: Ruahine School

Above: Students plant totara in the covenant as part of Ruahine School’s restoration project dating back to 2001.

Why is Ruahine School involved?

From teacher, Jo Brown:

Only after the last tree has been cut down
Only after the last river has been poisoned
Only after the last fish has been caught
Only then will you find that money cannot be eaten.

- Cree Native American Prophecy

‘Our planet needs our kids’ thinking and actions!

And from the children:

‘Ruahine’s Project Green was a huge success! All of the little kids loved it and I liked it just as much, you could tell by the smiles on faces! So, you may be thinking, why did we do this? We are doing this project to restore our native remnant bush.’
- Brandyn

‘A kereru’s view of the replanting day: As I chew on my totara berries, I look down and see big people planting trees. Soon the giants are gone and back I go to happily eating my berries…but I will never forget that exciting day that was Project Green.’
- Angela

Ruahine School Bush QEII covenant Photo: Bill Wallace

Above: As well as protecting the biodiversity of the bush and stream, the Ruahine School Bush covenant also forms a highly visible natural feature in the intensively farmed landscape.

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Open SpaceTM Magazine No. 75, March 2009 © QEII National Trust

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