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Holding Out For A Hero

Planting programme regenerates Lake Ohau Village

Native seedlings are thriving in pots and planters around Lake Ohau village thanks to residents who attended a propagation workshop earlier this year.

The seedlings had been growing steadily over winter and would be replanted throughout the village and its surrounds, as the village regenerated and the community recovered from a devastating wildfire just over two years ago.

The wildfire event burnt through more than 5500ha, destroying 44 homes, with no loss of life.

The Lake Ohau community has achieved a lot in the past two years — 22 of the homes destroyed in the wildfire had either been rebuilt or were being rebuilt, and there were 11 new residences.

It had been a time of recovery for residents of the tight-knit community, and recovery looked different for every person community member and chairwoman of the Ohau Conservation Trust, Viv Smith-Campbell said.

"Personal, social and community recovery is the most important — being able to work through this with others in the community who understand as they are going through it too is also very important. There’s also joy for property owners as houses are rebuilt and occupied again, and for the community, as they see this progress being made," she said.

The propagation workshop was organised by Wilding Free Mackenzie with funding from the Wilding Pine Network, and support from Environment Canterbury.

Attendees learned how to propagate plants from locally sourced seeds and used these to replant fire-damaged areas in and around the village.

The propagation work would boost biodiversity and reduce future fire risks from wilding conifers, which are pine trees that have self-seeded and are growing where they are not supposed to be.

Since 2016, the National Wilding Conifer Control Programme had controlled the spread in more than 70% of the known infestation area, and more work was needed to prevent further spread.

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