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Greener future takes root in schools with NPDC funding

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Tamariki at Waitara East School are growing a new outdoor classroom where future generations will learn thanks to funding from NPDC.

The creation of a wetland environment on the school grounds is taking root with plants bought with NPDC’s Te Korowai o Tāne (Planting our Place) fund.

Waitara East is one of three schools, along with Ahitītī and Waitoriki, to get planting this year with help from the fund.

Resource Teacher of Māori at the school, Tiri Bailey said Waitara East tamariki had been planting in different part of the kura (school) and were planting tōtara, tī kouka (cabbage trees) and harakeke (flax) in the outdoor classroom area.

“We’re using a beautiful space as a learning opportunity for our tamariki, to create an environment to discover, enjoy, build, and create a habitat for insects and attracting birds.

We can use harakeke for the weaving of nets and making paper, and the tī kouka leaves are used for making rope,” said Whaene Tiri.

New Plymouth District Mayor elect Neil Holdom said the fund is among several initiatives bringing NPDC’s Long-term Plan (2021-2031), greening our place, to life.

“Our Sustainable Lifestyle Capital is a biodiversity hotspot, and we already have more native tree cover than any urban area in Aotearoa. We could be the first to hit 10% and it is great our tamariki can be a part of that.”

“We’re also working with mana whenua to plant 34 hectares of urban forest across the district over the next 20 years, to help bring back native bird song, while creating a greener and healthier place for our kids,” said Holdom.

“When we teach our children how to garden and plant trees, we help them connect with the environment and learn how to make a positive difference. Achieving our environmental goals will require a collective community effort and the best place to start is with our young people and their families.”

The three schools are part of the Taranaki Regional Council’s Enviroschools programme, with its programme coordinator Lauree Jones delighted by the schools’ success.

As part of NPDC’s Climate Action Framework to plan ahead for climate change, Te Korowai o Tāne funds not-for-profit and community groups to plant native species on their own properties.

The fund is open to applications all year round. Find out more on


  • Te Korowai o Tāne (Planting our Place) was approved in NPDC’s 10-Year Plan for 2021-31.
  • Each year Te Korowai o Tāne will have $30k to help groups with native planting.
  • The fund is open year-round to community and not-for-profit groups including schools, sports clubs, kōhanga reo, kindergartens, early childhood and play centres and marae.
  • Conditions:
    • Applicants must provide a quote for the plants from a supplier approved by NPDC.
    • The applicants must plant on their own properties.
    • Before and after photos must be provided to show the planting has been done.
    • Funding is to buy native plants only and 70% of these must be large trees (canopy species) for carbon sequestration.
    • Planting must be intended to be in perpetuity.
    • NPDC will hold the carbon credits for the plants.
    • Only one application will be accepted per property.
    • Grants are a maximum of $5k per group.



Epiha Blackburn and Tiri Bailey plant a totara for the Waitara East School wetland and outdoor classroom.