Planting Program

Planting at the Cape Sanctuary began immediately after the predator-proof fence was erected in 2006. There was limited remnant bush inside the wire, as most had been cleared for farming over the previous century.

Tuatara Site in 2013 with volunteer planted natives becoming established.

Since 2006 over 1 million trees have been planted, with the bulk being planted in the first ten years. The land was retired from farming, especially steep hill country and steep faces that were not commercially viable.

Early plantings were nursery crops to provide the habitat for podocarps to grow through. Our large team of volunteers helped plant Mauna & Kanuka, Tawini, and Ngaio, which provided cover for the Totara, Hinua & Purere planted roughly at the same time. We also planted a second layer of Kawakawa & Flaxes.

The success of this planting and established regenerating native bush has lead to the third layer of ferns and other ground covering species being introduced predominantly by birds.

One passionate volunteer has to lead the planting of a Kauri grove to provide food for Kaka & to provide trees that are a significant distance from Kauri suffering from Kauri dieback.

After a decade of planting the ecosystem is getting closer to becoming self-sustaining. There is ongoing planting in new areas as more land is retired, and we have significant plantings planned for upcoming winters.

We always welcome volunteers who would like to help with tree planting. Please email Lindsay if you would like to plant at the Cape.


We have a committed team of volunteers who support our staff in running our own nursery. Every year we grow a large number of different species for planting on the cape, which supplements a large number of trees purchased from commercial nurseries.

Habitat Management

Weeding & releasing new plantings was important when the Cape started, but now we have an established canopy we do not have a huge weed problem. There is still some habitat management we have to undertake, so if you would like to help with this please email us.

Animal Welfare

We always have roles for volunteers wanting to support animal welfare. We are restricted by what our DoC permits allow in terms of handling native species, but those interested in animals can help out with important tasks in our Shore Plover, Kaka & Kakariki aviaries, Kiwi & Takahe enclosures and with Tuatara.

Animal welfare requirements change throughout the year, and our volunteers often get to work alongside visiting experts who are world leaders on the management of species.

Cats & a Ferret shot outside the wire on the fence boundary.

Predator & Pest Control

With over 3000 bait stations and 1200 traps, volunteers have plenty of opportunities to work in predator & pest control. There is still a small remnant population of predators inside the wire, and our leaky fences mean new animals can get around the wire.

We have a large number of different traps and bait stations, working on the principle that we need to provide predators with plenty of different options to be trapped.

Volunteers work to support our full-time staff, which includes two people specifically undertaking pest and predator control.