Trees for

Trees for Canterbury

Trees for Canterbury has created an inclusive community through conservation. They help their community grow and enhance the local environment through participation, education, and environmental regeneration.

Tim Jenkins was on student radio in 1990, talking about the importance of trees for the environment. At the end of his talk, he invited anyone who was interested in helping make tree planting in Canterbury more possible to contact him. The solution was conceived – to create small nurseries that could supply community groups and organisations with the trees that they required. The first nursery sites of the Trees For Canterbury project were volunteers backyards. Backyard nurseries were set up in various other areas around Christchurch, and eventually, all capacity was focused on the site in Opawa Road. This site has now moved into a larger premises at 42 Charlesworth St.

From the beginning, there was a strong trust (The Green Effect Trust) with people of widely varying experience and expertise to spearhead the cause of Trees For Canterbury. These people were mostly on employment work schemes and community support in general – ensuring that Trees For Canterbury grew from a small operation in backyards to the fully operational nursery that it is today. On April 1st 1992, Steve Bush was employed full time to undertake the day to day management of the Nursery and the projects that are undertaken. Steve has continued in his role to the present day and has taken the nursery from a small community project focused solely on tree planting to the broader social enterprise it is today.


What problem are they trying to solve?

Trees for Canterbury work with educational institutions, assisting in the teaching of environmental awareness. They cultivate native plants for community planting and revegetation projects which use plant material eco-sourced from local areas.

Trees for Canterbury also work towards establishing a sense of involvement in the community for disadvantaged people (physically, intellectually and long-term unemployed) and providing an environment of acceptance as well as support and training for self-development. This work instils positive self-esteem and work habits.

What impact is Trees for Canterbury making?

Trees for Canterbury’s Charlesworth Street nursery now provides services for 80-100 clients. Nearly 2,500 people have gained some form of training or community involvement, and they have produced more than 150,000 native plants each year. On average, 45,000 of these plants are planted or donated into the community each year. We have three full-time and four part-time staff. To date, 1,000,000 native plants have been donated or planted by Trees for Canterbury, which equates to 100 hectares of native plants. Another 2,000,000 have been obtained through the nursery for other projects and the public.

One of the interesting features of Trees For Canterbury has been the use of recycled materials. These materials include old greenhouses and hessian pretending to be shade cloth – the product of a shoestring budget in combination with a recycling ethic. They also use recycled articles such as old planter bags, plant pots, two-litre soft drink bottles and re-used root trainers.


What is Trees for Canterbury’s business model?

Selling a portion of the plants grown is the most effective and sustainable means of financial support. Trees for Canterbury have developed a carbon calculator as a simple tool for small businesses and individuals to calculate their carbon footprint. People can decide whether to donate money towards plantings on reserve land, which aids with biodiversity and carbon offsetting.

Where to from here?

Trees for Canterbury has planted 1,000,000 plants and is now aiming for the second million.

Watch Trees for Canterbury here

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Enterprise Details
Trees for Canterbury

Tim Jenkins (Steve Bush is the current Director)

Date of Creation
January 1990


Number of Employees

Legal Structure

Charitable Trust


Environmental regeneration



Reducing waste

Creating training and employment opportunities


Addressing social exclusion


Children and young people

People with mental illness and addictions

People with disabilities

Long-term Unemployed

Environmental Sustainability

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