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Support Local: Trees for Canterbury

Rātā Foundation loves hearing about all the ways community organisations are adapting to the changing COVID-19 Alert Levels and continuing to provide services to support the community. Supporting local businesses is important now more than ever to ensure our communities can thrive.

This story is part of Rātā’s Support Local series. Visit our Community Stories page for more.

Need some new trees and plants to brighten up your garden? Local nursery and social enterprise Trees for Canterbury are here to help.

Trees for Canterbury Manager Steve Bush says it’s important, now more than ever, for kiwis to support their local businesses.

To Steve, support local means thinking of the businesses that are around you, the people they employ, and - in the case of social enterprises - the ways they support the community.

Trees for Canterbury is a social enterprise with a mission to educate people on sustaining the environment, regenerate the natural landscape through native planting, and offer employment those living with disabilities.

Trees for Canterbury has reopened their nursery under Level Three, providing safe contactless ordering and pick up and allowing a select number of staff and volunteers to return to work.

In hiring people living with disabilities, Trees for Canterbury aims to instil a sense of involvement in the community and provide an environment of acceptance, as well as teaching positive work ethic and supporting self-development.

Steve says during Level Four lockdown he phoned the staff and volunteers weekly to check how they were doing.

He says the overwhelming message from them was they wanted to get back to the nursery to work and see one another.

Trees for Canterbury has strong links to the local community, undertaking environmental education, providing native plants and undertaking plantings with community organisations and schools.

Steve says three native planting days have had to be cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions, however he says support from local groups has allowed Trees for Canterbury to send the allocated trees, a few at a time, for them to be planted.

Rātā Foundation has supported Trees for Canterbury to build capacity within the organisation, allowing staff to gain knowledge and expertise in running a successful social enterprise.

Steve says with Rātā’s funding under the Support focus area, Trees for Canterbury has been able to continue to give back to the communities they serve and allow their staff to participate positively in the community.

For more information on Trees for Canterbury and to make an order, visit their website: