Nursery looks to recover from cyclone with new business model

A Hawke’s Bay nursery which flooded during Cyclone Gabrielle is growing poplars for the first time – to help with future erosion control.

Plant Hawke’s Bay which specialises in native plants had three metres of water smash through its Waiohiki nursery in February.

Following the cyclone, hundreds of volunteers including RSE workers from nearby orchards showed up to help dig plants out of the silt to try to save them.

Owner Marie Taylor said 64 percent of the crop was a right off – but another local nursery sold up which helped fill a lot of orders for the winter.

“Since then, orders have dropped away, demand from farmers has halved because they’ve been spending the money understandably on fixing fences.

“We’re hoping further down the track demand will pick up, we think next year will be quite different,” she said.

The nursery has adapted to what will be needed in the future and has started growing poplars which are used to stabilise the ground.

“Throughout Hawke’s Bay where there’s been slips, the poplars have really held the land together and the slips have either been above or below them,” Taylor said.

“We’ve got a fabulous list of farmers on our database and they need a lot trees on their properties, so it makes sense.”

The nursery should have 50,000 poplars available next year.


First published on Radio New Zealand. Click here to read the full article.