Resources for Groups

These resources are useful for community groups working throughout the catchment of the Ōpāwaho Heathcote River.

Starting a group

If you feel motivated to start a group to look after a stretch of the riverbank or a reserve, here is how to go about it.

  1. Contact the team leader of the Community Park Rangers (see below) and arrange to meet a Ranger on-site to discuss what you would like to achieve.
  2. If what you want to do is appropriate and achievable, the Ranger will guide the next steps which may involve the Community Board.
  3. When you are ready to begin, contact residents local to the site – there is always the enthusiastic few who will turn out.  Start an email list and/or a Facebook page.  Communication is the key.
  4. Make your work day regular but not too frequent or too long – 1.5hrs is about right.  Importantly, gather for a shared cuppa at the end – it’s the relationships that form that keeps the group going.

Council Reserves & Landscape Plans

Reserves owned by the Christchurch City Council cannot be modified without approval from the appropriate Community Board.  Approval for modification of a reserve usually means the amending of an existing landscape plan or the creation of a new landscape plan. The process for this is:

  1. A deputation is made to the Community Board. It can be high-level; detailed information is not typically required at this stage.
  2. The Board will assign an action for Council staff to amend the existing plan or create a new one, if necessary.
  3. Staff will work with those who made the deputation to amend or create the landscape plan.
  4. Feedback on the proposed plan is obtained through the Council’s community consultation process.
  5. Amendments to the plan are considered and implemented based on the feedback received.
  6. Council staff will generate a report to accompany the proposed plan and recommend that the Community Board adopts the plan.
  7. The Community Board votes to adopt plan.

It is important to note that the board may not resolve to adopt the plan and may ask for additional information, more consultation or fewer changes to be made. While this is not a common occurrence, for transparency’s sake it is important to acknowledge this possibility.

Site of Ecological Significance

The Christchurch District Plan includes the Ōpāwaho Heathcote River as a Site of Ecological Significance.

Site Name: Heathcote River and Tributaries
Site Number: SES/LP/25
Summary of Significance: The Heathcote River and Tributaries SES supports representative assemblages of indigenous flora and fauna including several at-risk species, and contributes to an important ecological network/linkage and migration route for migratory species.

Site Significance Statement in City Plan

Map of Christchurch Sites of Ecological Significance

Tree Policy

The work of community groups within the catchment will often involve the planting and/or removal of trees.

It is important that groups are aware of the CCC Tree Policy.

Tree Policy

In particular, be aware of the following policies:

1.4: Within sites and/or adjacent to sites of ecological significance (SES) … we will strengthen and enhance existing indigenous biodiversity and ecological resilience by planting only eco-sourced native species except where other species are necessary for specified reasons. An ecologist should be consulted prior to any planting and maintenance being undertaken.

1.9 For every tree removed a minimum of two new trees will be planted with the projected canopy cover replacing that which is lost within 20 years (additional planting may be required).

There is also important information in the Tree Policy about Tree planting, Tree replacement, Community planting, Commemorative trees, Ecological improvements, Removal of trees and Vandalism.

Planting Guide

Here is a special document prepared by Colin Meurk, and designed entirely for use in Canterbury.  It not only includes lists of suitable plants and where to place them, but also lists the 10 steps to take in planting and restoring a waterway for natural character.

Christchurch City & Lowland Canterbury Streamside Planting Guide



Restoration often requires the removal and suppression of weeds.

Biodiversity Issues

CCC Operational Pest Plant Management Plan DRAFT: a very useful draft of the plan being finalised for use within CCC by Nick Head

A slideshow of a presentation by Nicholas Head, Senior Ecologist at CCC about weeds in the Ōpāwaho Heathcote River, and what can be done about them.


Weedbusters: an interagency initiative aimed at raising awareness of weeds and supporting individuals in actively controlling weeds

CCC Waterway Maintenance Plant Guide 1999 A useful publication by CCC identifying plants and indicating which should be removed.


Pest Search

The pest search from Environment Canterbury is a really useful library to help you identify 100-plus pest species in Waitaha/Canterbury.

Where's it happening?
The Laura Kent Workgroup enjoys a covivial cuppa after their monthly work morning.

Community Group Liaison

Genevieve is our person for liaising with community groups within the Network. She can assist with advice, practical assistance, updating information on our website and contact with the CCC Urban Park Rangers.  If Genevieve does not have the answer to your question, she will be able to put you in contact with the person who does.

To contact Genevieve, email:
Genevieve Long
Community Group Liaison
Genevieve has a background in music education and a passion for growing things. She has lived by the river all her life and patrols its banks daily.

Community Partnership Rangers

There are currently only a few Community Partnership Rangers who are specifically assigned to working with community groups. These Rangers split the whole of Christchurch between them so treat them well – they are great people who do their best to help groups despite being overwhelmed by demands on their time and resources.


Contact the Team Leader, Karen Smith, in the first instance.


Waterways – CCC & ECan

CCC and ECan jointly look after Christchurch waterways in what is not always a logical division of effort.  Here is an official explanation of how it works.

How waterways are administered by CCC and ECan

Resources & Research Info

OHRN maintains a list of current and/or significant resources and research reports that have been published over time by CCC, ECan and others.  These provide important background information that Community Groups may wish to understand.

Link to other resources and research information

Canterbury Maps

Interactive map of Canterbury with a wide range of selectable layers to display.


Restoration Calendar

You can have your workdays and planting days listed on the OHRN Restoration Calendar.

Just contact Malcolm Long: