KidsCan kids help with Tui Corridor project

KidsCan kids help with Tui Corridor project

Thursday, September 24, 2020

The iconic sound of tūi song is set to return to Christchurch backyards with a major habitat restoration programme launching next week to establish a corridor of tūi friendly vegetation between the Port Hills and the central city.   

The Tūi Corridor project is a partnership between Meridian Energy and The Christchurch Foundation.  Meridian Chief Executive Neal Barclay says the intention is to plant ‘islands’ of tūi food sources, allowing the birds to travel easily between the peninsula and the CBD.  

“Banks Peninsula Conservation Trust has done fantastic work over the past decade restoring habitat for tūi.  We’re building on that by helping to bring tūi back into the heart of the city where thousands of people live, work and play.”    

According to the Trust, tūi were once common throughout Canterbury but began to disappear due to introduced predators, habitat loss, disease and other factors.  It says Akaroa is the only remaining area with any sizable tui population. 

The first corridor planting event will take place to coincide with the Bloom Festival on Friday, 25 September at the Christchurch Adventure Park, where 3,000 locally sourced native plants will be planted by Meridian customers, staff and students from Te Pā o Rākaihautū school in Linwood.  A further 3,000 plants will be available free of charge from the park at a pop-up nursery on Friday 25 and Saturday 26 September for Meridian customers.  

“The more Cantabrians that get involved in the corridor project, the sooner we can welcome tui back into the city.  Tūi song is part of our psyche as New Zealanders and having it part of the city soundscape will give a huge boost to peoples’ wellbeing,” Mr Barclay says.   

The tui corridor project is part of the ‘Stronger, Greener Christchurch’ agreement between Meridian and The Christchurch Foundation, which aims to make the city a better place to live through renewable energy and sustainability initiatives.  Christchurch Foundation Chief Executive Amy Carter says bringing tūi song back into Christchurch City is an ambitious idea that will benefit residents and make a positive difference.  

“Having tūi as regular visitors to the city once again is something all of us can look forward to.  The more residents that plant tūi tucker in their backyards, the more successful the project will be.”  

Ms Carter says Meridian and the Foundation will be planting islands of tui vegetation in the CBD within the next few months and identifying future planting sites in consultation with local communities.   

“This is another step towards building a city at the forefront of New Zealand’s transition toward a greener, more liveable and sustainable future.”    

Board Chairperson of Te Pā o Rākaihautū School, Rangimarie Parata Takurua says the tui corridor project is a good way to connect students to their community and leave a positive legacy for future generations. 

“We see culture, connection and identity as a foundation to educational success.  Helping to restore tui habitat in the city is a practical way to build pride in where we live and give our students a sense of belonging and accomplishment,” Takurua says.