The Stewart Island community nursery was set up in 2002 as a partnership between SIRCET, the Department of Conservation and Dancing Star Foundation.
The 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.
Stewart Island and its surrounding islands are sites where nationally-significant threatened plant species grow. We are working on propagating a sustainable stock of these rare plants to reintroduce to key restoration sites, where deer and possum browse has led to these plants disappearing.
The Southern Rata is an iconic native tree that is especially vulnerable to possum browse. Project Crimson helps groups like SIRCET to protect and propagate rata and pohutakawa species. Thanks to the support of Project Crimson we have been able to raise seedlings to plant back into areas where possum numbers are being controlled. The nursery is a great resource of information for workshops on native propagation and weeds. The nursery relies heavily on volunteer support for the nursery, community members and visiting school groups give their time to propagate and raise seedlings.