Forest restoration and protection on
Bluff Hill and Bluff Harbour environments


Native Plant Nursery - Te Korowai Whakahou

Part of the BHMET’s original strategy was to establish a native plant nursery with the specific purpose to assist with the rejuvenation and recovery of vegetation on Bluff Hill. Restoration projects completed to date have been possible with the Trust’s small nursery which resides in the back yard of our Chairperson.

In 2013, BHMET entered into a 3-year partnership with Blacks Fasteners to establish a native plant nursery in Bluff.

In 2017 the Trust was offered the long-term lease of a half-acre section by Te Runanga o Awarua Charitable Trust. The site is located at 18 Barrow Street and will be a permanent home for our vision for the native plant nursery.

2018 has allowed the project team to start the delivery of the first part of the nursery plan which has included the naming, site preparation and start of fundraising for the setup costs. It has been with great pleasure that we can now introduce TE KOROWAI WHAKAHOU NATIVE PLANT NURSERY to Bluff!

Construction started in 2019 with mahi provided by volunteers and community service teams from the Corrections Department.

Now, in 2022, our nursery is fully operational and will be growing up to 50,000 plants a year for planting on Motupōhue and elsewhere.

Nursery Mission

The BHMET Te Korowai Whakahou Native Plant Nursery is to enable the Trust (BHMET) to support the local community in their efforts to restore and protect the biodiversity of Motupōhue. The community-based facility provides a place for people to participate, learn and contribute to the propagating of native plants of local origin to be used for local native habitat restoration projects.The long-term vision for Te Korowai Whakahou (TKW) Native Plant Nursery is to restore the mana of Motupōhue, the sacred Topuni of Ngai Tahu, by restoring the korowai/cloak with a thriving, species diverse forest (ngahere). It will take a lifetime to fulfil the vision of a predator free and ecologically restored Bluff Hill Motupōhue. It will take many lifetimes to pass on the practices and knowledge needed to keep Motupohue and its surrounds surviving and thriving for the generations to come.

Meaning - Te Korowai Whakahou (TKW) Native Plant Nursery

In local Maori Legend ‘Bluff Hill Motupōhue’ is called Te Taurapa o te Waka a Aoraki – the sternpost of the canoe of Aoraki. Stewart Island/Rakiura is called Te Punga o te Waka a Maui – the anchor stone of the canoe of Maui. The Taurapa (sternpost) Bluff Hill Motupōhue holds-fast the anchor stone Rakiura to the waka (canoe) Te Wai Pounamu/South Island of Maui. To us this means that as BHMET heads towards the exciting journey to become ‘Predator Free’ it is important that we holdfast to ‘Rakiura’ as we ride the ‘Predator Free’ waka together! The Te Korowai Whakahou Native Plant Nursery” meaning is: the restoration, renewal, rebuilding (whakahou) of the korowai (cloak) being the forest which covers Motupōhue, a topuni (sacred site) to Ngai Tahu, under the Ngai Tahu Claim Settlement Act 1997.


  • to restore the mana of Motupōhue through predator control to restore nga manu waiata (the birdsong);
  • to grow native plants to restore indigenous vegetation recovery on Motupōhue, Bluff harbour islands and coastal restoration projects;
  • to undertake translocation, reintroduction and population enhancement of indigenous plant species considered to be at risk of local extinction;
  • to undertake restoration planting to enhance habitat and scenery and to provide opportunities for greater public participation in practical conservation;
  • to monitor vegetation on Bluff Hill by establishing permanent plots to monitor vegetation change, and regeneration of rare indigenous plantings;
  • to educate, include and encourage the community in conservation activities;
  • to provide tourism opportunities for the community by enhancing indigenous biodiversity;
  • to enable and encourage tangata whenua to participate in and practise their kaitiakitanga (stewardship), mahinga kai (cultural harvesting), mātauranga (knowledge), and whakawhanaungatanga (relationships) over their sacred areas;
  • to connect with the local community and recruit volunteers to support restoration of indigenous biodiversity through plant trees, education and sharing our knowledge.


Te Korowai Whakahou (TKW) Native Plant Nursery will propagate native plants, with a focus on locally sourced, and rare or endangered indigenous species for restoration projects. The nursery will also support the community to grow native plants for their private gardens, to provide habitat and food for native species. TKW Native Plant Nursery will support species recovery by extending protected native forest habitats in the area.

The BHMET has a dedicated group of 20+ volunteers who work on Motupōhue, they undertake pest control, species monitoring, and administrative duties, public speaking and education through guided walks. However, due to the different nature of the activities at the nursery, we foresee engagement with a new group of volunteers with an interest in nursery work.

If you would like to be part of our new project, drop the trust and email to or follow us on Facebook;