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The Department of Conservation (Doc) is asking for the community’s help to get Kowhai trees to flourish once again in North Otago.

Next Wednesday, Doc is holding a “Project Gold” planting event at Wai O Toura Gards Rd Scenic Reserve in the Waitaki Valley.

The main objectives of Project Gold are to encourage Otago people to grow and look after their own kowhai trees and strengthen enthusiasm for dryland forest restoration.

Wai O Toura reserve, about 3km northwest of Otekaieke, is the first lowland scenic reserve in the Waitaki Valley.

The reserve features a limestone ridge and escarpment covered in exotic grassland and remnants of indigenous vegetation, including a range of nationally threatened and at risk species such as prostrate kowhai, rare native cress and mat daisy. It is also one of only three places in New Zealand where native broom Carmichaelia hollowayi grows wild.

Community ranger Andy Powazynski said it was a special scenic reserve and he hoped the North Otago community would support Doc’s Project Gold efforts to conserve, protect and enhance the environment by helping plant native plants and release previous plantings next week.

“This is a mammoth task and that’s when we need to work with community, volunteers and partners, so we can all achieve strong conservation outcomes,” Mr Powazynski said.

“The department has been working hard towards this planting event by locally sourcing seed, propagation and nurturing these native plants for this event.”

The planting day at Wai O Toura Gards Rd Scenic Reserve starts at 9.30am on October 30.

A bus will leave from the Oamaru Doc field base, 8 Regina Lane, at 9am and arrive back in Oamaru at 4.30pm.

To register for the planting day, contact Mr Powazynski on 27 217-8912 or at apowazynski@doc.govt.nz.