Landowners – Sue & Neil Stewart

Location – Te Arai, Northland

Property Type – Dairy Farm – Size 125 hectares

Challenge / Project

Sue and Neil Stewart made contact with Robert in 2012, because they could see subdivision potential of their farm. Robert spent time walking over the farm, getting to know the land.  Robert and his team undertook Intensive Native Planting of two wetlands and the buffer zones around them. As Sue and Neil do not themselves live on the farm, it was really important to them that the contractor they employed could take on the complete project from site preparation, sourcing New Zealand native plants locally, planting – to someone who could undertake the ongoing maintenance program until the plants were well established. They needed someone who would get the job done efficiently, with minimal disruption to farm operations, on time and on budget.


Robert and the team aligned with Sue and Neil’s requirements. Using his community focus Robert sourced plants locally from Te Hana Nursery and both members of the Native Awa team and small local contractors completed the planting (which supports local suppliers and enables them to be a part of a job that would normally be too large for them to take on).  It enabled Sue  and Neil’s project to be completed efficiently, minimising distribution to the day-to-day running of the farm.

The project has been a huge success. Robert and his NativeAwa team planted a total 17,016 plants over the two areas – this was achieved over a period of 8 very busy days. Robert sourced high quality plants, which are establishing well. The plant selection, spacing and mixing with existing plants have all contributed to the success of this project. Robert has been hands on and continues to maintain the wetlands himself. Sign off is scheduled for spring 2014.

Wetland Restoration Projects/Intensive Native Planting for Sue and Neil’s farm has promoted:


-Wetland enhancement – Wetlands to the land are like kidneys to humans – they filter, clean and store water – acting like a sponge for ecosystems.

  • Plant Diversity
  • A catchment area for run off
  • Beneficial use of unproductive boggy wetland areas
  • New habitat for birdlife & insects
  • No stock loss in boggy areas
  • Readiness for obtaining compliance to subdivide
  • Farm ecological benefits

Robert has worked with us for the last two years and has taken full responsibility for developing our wetlands. Robert is very independent and simply gets the job done well.” Sue Stewart