• 2024 Kaipātiki Project team - photo by David St George Photography.
  • Kaipātiki Project's youngest volunteer in our Teaching Garden.
  • Volunteers at work in Kaipātiki Project native plant nursery.
  • Gift a Tree planting in Eskdale Reserve - photo by Dave Olsen Photography.
  • Kākahi-Freshwater mussels.

Growing a sustainable future for people and nature

Nestled on the edge of Eskdale Reserve in Birkdale lies an innovative environmental organisation, Kaipātiki Project, a buzzing EcoHub teeming with life and purpose. More than just a workspace, it serves as a bridge to nature, seamlessly integrated with a native plant nursery and edible garden, offering a tranquil oasis for learning and inspiration.

“The roots of this remarkable organisation trace back to 1998, when our founder ignited a spark of passion to ‘weed the bush’ along the banks of the Kaipātiki Stream in Auckland's North. With a merry band of volunteers by her side, they embarked on a journey that would evolve into what Kaipātiki Project is today: a passionate group of volunteers, nature lovers and sustainability enthusiasts,” explains Janet Cole, Kaipātiki Project CE.
Volunteering lies at the heart of everything they do. Through hands-on learning, Kaipātiki Project fosters a deep connection with the natural world, cultivating a community of environmental stewards and advocates for sustainable living practices. Alongside their volunteers, they operate a thriving native plant nursery to support ecosystem regeneration and promote sustainable living through zero waste activations, teaching garden, compost hubs and promoting sustainable travel.
Kaipātiki Project's regenerative environmental programmes integrate ecology's best practices alongside mātauranga Māori, taking a whole systems approach to nature regeneration. Their commitment extends to community engagement, exemplified by their active involvement in initiatives such as regenerating Eskdale Reserve Network, Upper Waitematā, Waipapa Stream in Parnell, Te Ara Awataha - the new Northcote greenway – in collaboration with various stakeholders, and more.
And conservation involves the whole system. “We get excited when spotting native indicator species like –titiwai/glowworms, kākahi/freshwater mussels, and pekapeka tou roa/long tailed bats. Engaging with iwi, the local community and stakeholders, we strive to deepen our understanding of these beautiful creatures,” says Janet.
This involves training volunteers, schools, and partners in best practice for regular, ongoing monitoring. While the extreme rainfall of 2023 disrupted these studies, it also presented opportunities to observe the impact on populations and habitats in the aftermath of flooding, leading to valuable insights for restorative action.
Diving into the sustainable living aspect of their mission, Kaipātiki Project plays an important role in fostering food resilient communities in Auckland’s North through its teaching garden and compost hubs. The teaching garden serves as a vibrant space where people can learn about soil health, composting, cultivating food from seeds, maintaining plant health without chemicals, and crafting delicious meals from the harvest. There are plenty of opportunities for community involvement, whether as a garden volunteer, attendee at workshops on food cultivation, a member at their community compost hub, or participating in sustainable living programmes together with community groups and schools.
Kaipātiki Project is also a passionate advocate for minimising waste through a range of activities, including composting workshops and zero waste events. By advocating for "travel lightly" initiatives, they encourage people to embrace active transport solutions such as walking, cycling, or utilising public transport whenever feasible, such as through the ‘Bike to Sport’ campaign.
Kaipātiki Project's annual regional EcoFest celebrates all things ‘eco’, in collaboration with EcoMatters Environment Trust, Beautification Trust, and Waiheke Resources Trust. This month-long eco-festival offers over 300 events, reflecting our distinct environment and promoting sustainable living practices across Tāmaki Makaurau.
“Success is not the work of an individual; it is the work of many. After 25 years, we can safely say our impact – the difference we have made and continue to make – is the work of many. We believe that by working together, we can include everyone in creating the solutions that we all need to regenerate our environment and create a resilient, sustainable future,” says Janet.
“There are countless ways to make a difference with Kaipātiki Project. Whether you're eager to volunteer in our food garden, native plant nursery, or out in the bush, your efforts contribute to the thriving ecosystem we're building together.
"For businesses seeking meaningful team-building opportunities, tailored corporate volunteering activities offer a unique way to give back while fostering connections. It is heart-warming to see an increased interest in organisations signing up for a fulfilling experience of teamwork and reconnecting with nature."
And if time constraints prevent direct involvement, donations or sponsorship options ensure this vital work continues.”
Together, let's nurture our environment, empower communities, and shape a more sustainable future for generations to come.

Visit kaipatiki.org.nz, get in touch today and be part of the change.