Media release

Media release: New interactive Otago Native Planting Guide launched

Thursday 6 July 2023

The Otago Regional Council has developed a new online tool to help communities find the most suitable native plants for their specific area and project.

ORC’s Manager Environmental Implementation, Libby Caldwell, says the new Otago Native Planting Guide is an interactive map which uses potential ecosystem information to produce a list of native species which will be best suited to plant in your specific area.

“Plants which naturally occur in the area will have a higher chance of surviving as they’re adapted to growing in that local environment. The native animals in those areas will also rely on specific plant species for food and habitat,” she says.

ORC staff are at the NZ International Science Festival in Dunedin this week on 6-7 July, with advice on what natives to plant on your property.

Mrs Caldwell says the landscape has been greatly modified since humans arrived in Aotearoa, noting plants are the “building blocks” to restore a healthy ecosystem.


Otago landscape - wetlands, waterway and farmland


“In many places, our native birds have also disappeared. By planting the right species, in the right place, we hope to bring our native fauna back, as well as improving water quality and helping toward climate change responses,” she says.

The Otago Native Planting Guide works by users entering their project location, address or clicking on the map, which then creates a downloadable list of what native species should be planted at their site.

Mrs Caldwell says introduced exotic species which are planted in gardens can escape into the wild and can create problems for native species as they can become weedy.

“When exotics become established in the wrong place, they often start outcompeting our native species,” she says.

The Otago Native Planting Guide is for species choice rather than an instruction manual for native revegetation projects. It is intended as a supplement to existing planting resources, and to assist where they don’t.

Otago Native Planting Guide

NZ International Science Festival