Te Aka Kōtuia - Kaitiaki & Community Nurseries
Sharing & learning together
Hands-on experience

Te Aka Kōtuia - Kaitiaki & Community Nurseries

As it was formerly known, the Iwi, Hapū & Community Nursery Network was established in 2018 with the overarching goal to increase biodiversity across the Auckland Region, the programme began from a need for community nurseries to work collectively. Supported by Auckland Council Biosecurity and Biodiversity, Kaipātiki Project partners with Uru Whakaaro to facilitate and support the network.

The kaupapa of the Te Aka Kōtuia - Kaitiaki & Community Nurseries is to share information, methods and seeds across native plant nurseries, and by doing so increase the biodiversity of native plant life across the Auckland Region. It aims to tautoko and encourage nurseries and potential nurseries to work collectively; to know who was growing what, and where, support one another by sharing knowledge about growing native plants. The network also supports communications around how to set up and manage native plant nurseries.

Celebrating the new name - Te Aka Kōtuia

Throughout 2023, Uru Whakaaro have been working on refining the strategy alongside Kaipātiki Project and setting direction for the next 5 years. 

This resulted in reviewing the name Iwi, Hapū & Community Nursery Network, which led to the development of a new name, aligning with our refined purpose and focus. The new name, Te Aka Kōtuia represents the many layers of ngahere that weave together diverse, interconnected elements within the forest. 

Te Aka Kōtuia is comprised of native plant nursery specialists who understand kaitiaki and community-centred approaches to restoration. Our vision is to support the restoration of Auckland’s diverse ecosystems by kaitiaki and communities for their local places.

We focus on the facilitation of support networks between nurseries within Tāmaki Makaurau to develop nursery capability in management and operations, and to enrich native plant diversity through sourcing, and growing the full complexity of plant ecosystems.

IHCNN team 1200 900
Strategic Plan 2023 - 2028

Te Aka Kōtuia is a collaboration comprised of native plant nursery specialists who understand kaitiaki and community-centred approaches to restoration.

Diverse and complex ecosystems in the Auckland region are restored and sustained by kaitiaki and communities for their local places.

Focused on supporting nurseries within the Auckland region while providing occasional targeted koha support to nurseries in other regions.

Through facilitating networking, improving management and operations, and enriching native plant diversity, we support kaitiaki and local communities to meet their local ecological restoration aspirations and kaupapa.


  • Elevating aspirations of mana whenua 
  • Appropriate and respectful processes
  • Duty of care towards people and nature
  • Learning, sharing & fun
  • Professional /Open-source information
te aka kotuia strategy
Purpose of the project

Create a space where everyone - schools, iwi, hapū, community nursery staff and volunteers - can all support each other through sharing stories about growing native plants and their experiences of organising volunteering events and facilitating workshops. The network has grown to include 58 nurseries, with the aspiration for new nurseries to continue joining this growing initiative.

Current focus of work

  • Put in practise the 10-year strategy with the network
  • Co-develop and design the seed library concept
  • Develop and share of Māori-led approach to best practice biosecurity and biodiversity operations, and training based on the Plant Pass certification scheme.
Seeds 1200 900

View the map of Te Aka Kōtuia - Kaitiaki & Community Nurseries (click on image to expand)

Map image

Kia ora and thanks to our funders and partners, who make it all possible!

Uru Whakaaro 10 5 cmAuckland Council logo ecofest north 2020