"PLANTING OUR FUTURE" Programme for Cambridge, New Zealand

Working with Waipa District Council for a better tomorrow

ATJ supports Waipa District Council by donating the trees plant for each vehicle it exports.


Cambridge is a rapidly growing town located in the heart of Waikato, New Zealand. Its wide, tree-lined streets and beautiful gardens have earned it a reputation as the ‘Town of Trees’.

This makes Cambridge a popular tourist stop. State Highway 1 runs through the town, and its many cafes and parks offer a refreshing break for any traveller.

Home to more than 16,000 people, the town has kept its links with the past through maintaining its many beautiful, historic buildings and protecting extensive recreational areas.

These areas, known as the greenbelt, surround the town and include the Karapiro Stream. Located close to the centre of Cambridge, and a tributary of the Waikato River, the stream has high recreational and ecological value for the town. Not only does it hold the potential to increase the area’s aesthetic appeal, it could also be a prime habitat for New Zealand’s native plants and animals because of its proximity to the Waikato River and Maungatautari Ecological Island Reserve. The Island is the largest ecological reserve in mainland New Zealand and is free of all introduced mammalian pests, meaning native birds thrive in the area.

Planting our Future Programme

At present the stream is burdened by sediment washed from its banks through erosion. This will continue to worsen without planting. In its current condition the stream is not a viable habitat for the many freshwater fish that populate its tributary, the Waikato River. Further, much of the vegetation in the gully is made up of weeds and exotic plants that prevent native plants and animals from establishing in the area (see photo).

The Project
As part of its dedication to preserving Cambridge’s natural environment, the Waipa District Council has embarked on a project to restore and develop the Karapiro Stream. The project will make the most of the area’s recreational and ecological potential for the residents of Cambridge, and all those who pass through.

The goal of this project is to recapture the natural beauty of the gully through which Karapiro Stream runs, and provide the public with access to the area for recreation and relaxation.

Planting our Future Programme

This project will be achieved in part through a replanting programme that will see 150,000 native trees and shrubs planted in the gully. This planting will initially target the stream and gully banks to prevent erosion, and raise the quality of the water in the stream. Later the wetlands will be developed and, long term, the floodplain of the stream will be planted. The photo shows an example of wetland native planting.

To date 3,500 plants have been installed in the Karapiro Stream gully. More plants will be grown for the project with seed from nearby sites to give the planting project the greatest possible chance of success. It is our goal to see 30,000 plants planted in the area each year, to ensure the project maintains its momentum. Each new plant will be taken care of for two years after planting to make sure it is established in its new environment.

Planting our Future Programme

It is our hope that native birds from nearby Maungatautari Ecological Island Reserve will be able to make the gully home in this new environment. A pair of New Zealand falcon are already nesting in the area (see photo).

Higher quality water will encourage an increase in number and variety of aquatic animals such as native kokopu (fish) and tuna (eel).

Planting our Future Programme

Walkways will also be restored and built around the gully, with lookouts for people to enjoy the beautiful view. Large, grassy areas will provide a space for those wanting to play sports, or picnic in the area.

Eventually, these walkways and recreational areas will form a looped path around the gully, and link members of the public to other recreational areas around the town, and to the town centre itself.

In total, the project will cover an area of about 33 hectares, and take 10 years to complete. To ensure its success a Care Group will be established, responsible for allocating funding and organising volunteers wishing to help with the project. This Care Group will also be responsible for engaging in an education campaign on the stream’s restoration.

The Opportunity
This exciting project is one that will provide benefits far into the future, and fits naturally with the town’s focus on its environment.

Not only will the Karapiro Stream Restoration and Development Project provide an area of great beauty for local residents, it will also be a place of interest and restoration for the many travellers who pass by far into the future.

The Care Group volunteers will be made up of people from local business groups and sports and social clubs, as well as local schools. This means the project will be as much an opportunity for strengthening the Cambridge community and creating local networks as it will be a chance to recapture an area of true natural beauty.

It will also provide valuable links between schools and businesses, and provide Cambridge’s children with a means of learning about their environment and how to care for it beyond lessons in the classroom.

Planting our Future Programme

This is a mark that you support our "PLANTING OUR FUTURE" programme for New Zealand.