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Natives get star treatment at Totara Park Planting Day

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Around 200 employees from Vector and their partners Northpower, Electrix and Treescape were today knee-deep in an urban resilience project planting trees at Manurewa’s Totara Park.

Approximately 15,000 natives were planted at the headwaters of the Puhinui Stream, a continuation of Vector’s Urban Forest promise in which the company plants two native seedlings for each dangerous or obstructive tree removed to protect people and the power network. This year, the planting contributes towards Mayor Phil Goff’s Million Trees pledge.

"Many of us who work at the frontlines of keeping our city powered are passionate about protecting our environment and managing trees and vegetation that can endanger our city’s critical infrastructure," said Andre Botha, Vector’s Chief Networks Officer.

"We’re keenly aware that smart planting of native seedlings is one way to do that which is why so many of us like to get involved in fulfilling the Urban Forest promise. It’s great to be able to do that in a way that supports our colleagues at Auckland Council who are similarly committed to fostering a city we can be proud of for the future."

Phil Goff said that the Urban Forest initiative was a positive and proactive way to manage critical infrastructure and protect and enhance the environment.

"This is a strong example of working together to protect our infrastructure and make our environment greener and better.

"The Million Trees target will be exceeded by around 100,000 trees and it couldn’t have been done without the contribution of thousands of Aucklanders, including businesses like Vector."

Looking after your neighbourhood power supply

"Doing more to ensure the resilience of our power network in the face of strong winds is important, particularly when we see the impact of trees planted too close to power lines causing disruptions during storms. This can have an impact on the wider network too - your neighbours’ homes, local businesses, schools and so on," said Mr Botha.

"We saw this over the weekend where customers lost power during a storm, largely because of vegetation and trees blowing onto power lines. This is a timely reminder that property owners have responsibilities in helping keep the power on for their neighbourhoods by ensuring trees located on their property are well away from network lines.

"Anyone with trees on their property near power lines should check our website for their responsibilities and contact a qualified and approved utility arborist."

Getting proactive with plants to help prevent wild weather power disruptions

According to arboricultural consultancy Arborlab, smart native replanting may in fact be part of the answer.

"Part of helping resilience in the power network is to think about what we plant near powerlines. Mixed species of appropriate size can continue to provide benefits while reducing the risk to the power lines. Native species are adapted to our environment and can be more resilient in bad weather." said Karl Burgisser, Arborlab Director.

Plant smart around power lines:

Check what your responsibilities are at vector.co.nz/treetrim

When planting, buy smart - use Vector’s table of suitable trees and other vegetation for planting under or near powerlines, available at vector.co.nz/planting

The species list is a guide only. It is made up of hardy, adaptable, easy to grow and buy species that are also good for wildlife from bees to birds.

If in doubt ask your local nursery for help - let them know where you live to help with suitable species selection, or buy plants with similar growth habits.

Remember, before planting a tree, look up and look out for power lines.

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