A lasting legacy: Riccarton House & Bush Trust

Pūtaringamotu Riccarton Bush is a 600-year-old forest remnant, set in the heart of Christchurch.

Due to its small size and urban setting, Pūtaringamotu is vulnerable to external pressures and activity. To increase its resilience, the Riccarton Bush Trust operates under a management plan to protect and enhance its indigenous flora and fauna, including mahinga kai and taonga species such as the Canterbury gecko (pictured right).

The trust is currently looking at ways to identify and mitigate threats, such as climate change, water scarcity, and urban intensification. By adopting a more holistic approach to the management plan, indicators will consider a wide range of factors, such as cultural values, ecological markers, and local knowledge and values. Under the scope of the bush enhancement project, the trust is looking to upgrade vital infrastructure, and improve monitoring equipment and techniques, to ensure management efforts are, in fact, enhancing all aspects of Pūtaringamotu.

Through recent funding efforts, the trust has been awarded $95,000 by the Lotteries Environment and Heritage Fund. The grant has been specifically allocated to the upgrade of the fire/irrigation system. As the size of the bush shrank in the 19th century, and drainage and urban activity increased during the 20th century, Pūtaringamotu has been slowly drying out and no longer reflects its natural swampy origins.

As a result, irrigating the bush has been in place in varying forms since the 1970s. The current system is degrading, is costly to maintain, and is no longer meeting the needs of the bush.
The improved system will be designed to cater to the variation within the composition of the vegetation present. Improved monitoring through sensors, and an upgrade in sprinkler design, will ensure the water usage is efficient while still meeting the demands of the bush. Further funding is sought for the Bush Enhancement Project, some of which will go towards other infrastructure to improve the capacity of the trust’s monitoring abilities. Equipment could include, but is not limited to: weather stations, soil probes and tests, improvements to the nursery, regular survey, and analysis of flora and fauna, weed and animal pest control.

Certain areas of the boardwalk have started to deteriorate; the concrete paths have become uneven, posing a tripping hazard. Additionally, the signage is outdated, providing visitors with limited information on the cultural importance of this special place.

The Future

  • The Enhancement project aims to achieve the following objectives:
  • Integrate Ngāi Tūāhuriri values, associations, and narratives into the design, art, entrance experience, and interpretation of Pūtaringamotu/Riccarton Bush.
  • Improve the track system and infrastructure.
  • Develop the Grove area to accommodate larger groups visiting Pūtaringamotu/Riccarton Bush.
  • Provide educational interpretation that encourages engagement and participation.

Donate Now

To ensure the future of Riccarton Bush, a total of $2.4 million is needed to fund the Enhancement project. Your donation can help protect, conserve, and enhance this important landmark for future generations.


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