Technology brings nature to the small screen


Technology helps explore nature in Hamilton (Image Supplied)

Praneeta Mahajan
Hamilton, August 17, 2023

Hamilton is growing as a city which offers family life, social opportunities as well as wider business engagement. But the city is also ensuring regular efforts on the city’s natural assets.

Planting and restoration work is ramping up and a new educational app is on the way for Hamilton City Council’s Nature in the City Programme, it was reported last week to the Community and Natural Environment Committee.

Planning for the future

The programme, now in its third year, aims to restore Hamilton’s native vegetation cover from 2% to 10% by 2050. Alongside increased planting and maintenance of natural areas, community involvement is a strong focus of the programme.

The ‘Nature in the City’s mobile app, due to launch in Spring 2023, will highlight Hamilton’s native biodiversity, restoration efforts and the history of our natural areas.

“There is so much to learn about our gullies and natural areas, and the more we know, the more passionate we are about protecting and restoring them,” said Community and Natural Environment Committee Chair Councillor Kesh Naidoo-Rauf.

“This free app will help our community explore nature in the city, and learn more about Hamilton’s unique biodiversity and what we’re doing to restore and protect it.”

Technology for nature

Launching with ten self-guided tours to choose from, Hamiltonians can learn something new about popular sites like Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park, or adventure to lesser-known spots like Munros Walkway. More urban nature walks will be added to the app over time.

Denise Williams, a mother of three, spoke to Indian Newslink and said, “ We are a young family and Hamilton is a perfect city to call home with all these new initiatives. Our children are excited to go for a bike ride on the Te Awa bike trail and head out to the library and with the new app, we would be able to plan more nature-centric activities to keep them engaged and entertained.”

The app follows other work Council has done to involve the community in restoration, including collaborating with the recently refurbished Exscite Centre at Waikato Museum. The new Exscite centre includes native biodiversity references throughout, and kids can trade their entry sticker for a packet of koowhai seeds to grow at home.

Restoration efforts

On the restoration front, the programme has planted more than 35,000 plants in the past twelve months and hosted 32 planting events with help from around 3300 volunteers. Restoration work is currently underway in Kukutaaruhe Gully, Mangaonua Gully, and Mangaiti Gully.

More than half of the gully land in Hamilton Kirikiriroa is privately owned. The programme is working with 117 landowners to help them restore their private gully sections, providing information and advice.

“We need every Hamiltonian on this journey with us to restore nature in the city,” said the Parks Asset Manager Luke Archbold. “Whether it is attending a planting event, doing your bit in your own backyard, or exploring nature and sharing the love for our gullies, every bit counts. Restoring nature in the city benefits us all.”

Praneeta Mahajan is an Indian Newslink reporter based in Hamilton.

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