For years, Craig Olsen harboured a dream to restore a block of bush.
“My Norwegian forebears were brought out by Julius Vogel in the 1870s, essentially to cut down the trees. It was all about survival back then, but I saw an opportunity to bring balance back to the environment in a small way.”
Craig spent a year on the North Shore where he attended Kaipatiki Project conservation courses and volunteered at Tuff Crater. He ended up on Waiheke Island and discovered he was living in the middle of a nationally important ecological zone, where Te Matuku Bay Scenic Reserve leads down to Te Matuku Marine Reserve.
Craig started his conservation work on a small scale, controlling weeds next to the marine reserve. The project grew to encompass a much wider part of Te Matuku Bay, and this led to the formation of Te Matuku Landcare Group.
“These reserves have become a botanical ark and I'm currently raising awareness of their importance.”
Craig encourages anyone with an interest in conservation to take the first step and reach out to a project group.
“My advice is to remain curious, ask experts and learn as much as possible from other volunteer projects. You can start something right now just by getting out there!”
Photo supplied: Craig Olsen