Love Queenstown turns out for tree planting mission

2 minutes read
Posted 3 April, 2024
Screenshot 2024 04 03 112005

Photos: Dave Oakley

Some 140 tourism volunteers planted more than 2,500 native trees near Lake Hayes over just two days late last month.

The biodiversity working bee on the Slope Hill Recreation Reserve involved the Love Queenstown collective, supporting the work of the Whakatipu Reforestation Trust and Mana Tāhuna.

Staff from Queenstown Airport, Skyline Enterprises, Ziptrek Ecotours and other tourism businesses were involved.

"Love Queenstown connects our visitors and visitor industry to environmental projects of impact to ensure our rohe (region) thrives for generations to come," Love Queenstown Coordinator Ash Bickley says.

"These planting events are a perfect example of how communities can show up, do more for our backyard, and drive essential environmental action in our district."

The Whakatipu Reforestation Trust (WRT) embarked on a journey to restore Slope Hill Recreation Reserve in autumn 2019. The reserve surrounds the creek that runs adjacent to the cycle trail to Mill Creek, leading to Waiwhakaata / Lake Hayes.

More than 8500 riparian native trees and shrubs have been planted along the steam, and many willow trees removed.


Earlier this year, the He Rā Rākau Tītapu - King Charles III Coronation Plantings gifted 7,000 native plants from Trees that Count to WRT and Mana Tāhuna, enabling them to expand the restoration work and initiate planting on the hill above the cycle track.

The overarching goal is not only to restore Slope Hill to its native habitat, benefiting local wildlife, but also to enhance water quality, contribute to climate change mitigation through carbon sequestration, and instill ecological awareness within the community.

The project will play a crucial role in establishing an ecological corridor stretching from Arrowtown to Lake Whakatipu, creating a substantial seed bank in the heart of the Basin.

Volunteers from local schools, businesses, and community members planted many of the trees and shrubs over four days in late March, including the Love Queenstown working bee. 

Karen O’Donahoo, Whakatipu Reforestation Trust’s Operations Manager, says: “Events like these require a huge amount of coordination, funding, and, importantly, hands on deck. We are so grateful for the support from Love Queenstown, who played a huge role in making this event such a success”.

Love Queenstown is a giving platform that invites visitors and the visitor industry to protect this place, now and for generations to come. The inaugural funding round will be announced in April, which will encourage applications from local organisations who operate within the climate, conservation, and biodiversity spaces in this district.

For more information about Love Queenstown and future initiatives, visit


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