Fancy getting some dirt under your fingernails? Whether you have green thumbs or not, environmental organisation Kaipātiki Project welcomes volunteers to its Engine Bay Plant Nursery at Bomb Point Drive. Volunteers help to grow 10,000 native plants each year, which help with the restoration of the local coastal area.

The mahi includes potting up and propagating, maintaining the grounds, and removing weeds. Volunteers have also established a community orchard and a food forest to grow organic vegetables, fruit and herbs.

Last year, the team was instrumental in setting up the Hobsonville Community Compost Hub, to help divert a significant amount of local food waste from landfill and turn it into living compost.

All this hard work was recognised at last month’s Upper Harbour Volunteer Awards evening, hosted by Upper Harbour Local Board, where the Engine Bay Plant Nursery team won the Environment Award.

The award capped off the nursery’s tenth birthday celebrations, which it marked with a community Enviro Day in March. “The nursery still operates out of a shed with very limited facilities, but this does not deter the regular volunteers who turn up weekly year-round in all conditions, rain or shine,” says Kaipātiki Project’s Blanka Ros.

“The enthusiastic volunteers at the nursery are truly committed to enhancing native biodiversity in the local area and support sustainable living practices. We are extremely proud of our volunteers and humbled to be working with them,” Blanka says.

To volunteer or get involved in a community compost hub, get in touch at