Quality over quantity for native seedlings

Gina Kriletich. Photo: Catherine Fry.

When Gina Kriletich moved from Auckland in 2018 to her partner Paul’s Waikato maize and drystock farm near Parawera, she wanted to find work in the farming community she had  become part of.

A friend suggested that she start a native plant nursery, utilising the disused calf rearing sheds. These have proved to provide the perfect conditions for raising her native seedlings.

“With their upcoming obligations under the Healthy Rivers - Proposed Waikato Regional Plan Change 1, many farmers are already making substantial investments planting their waterways, and they really care about making their farms better for future generations,” says Gina.

“It’s really important that they are supplied with quality plants with high success rates for this scale of mass planting.”

After the addition of an automatic irrigation system, the building needed little alteration.

Gina is nearing completion of her Horticulture certificate and works closely with industry contacts and an invaluable mentor. She does the majority of the work herself, with some family assistance during busier times.

“The season starts in September, transplanting seedlings into trays, and one litre pots for the larger trees.”

She uses a special native seedling mix, ensuring the plants have sufficient nutrients for a couple of months once planted in the ground.

Gina grows around 55,000 plants, covering 16 different species. The predominant focus is on riparian and wetland natives such as flaxes, grasses, coprosmas, manuka, kanuka, hebes, pittosporums, akeake and some larger trees such as kahikatea.

Plants are trimmed to promote root growth and stronger stems and moved outside to harden off before they are sold for winter planting.

“I want quality over quantity, so I monitor them all closely to ensure they are good, strong plants that will thrive.”

Building relationships is also an important part of Gina’s business. She takes a keen interest in where her plants are going, often walking the property with the farmers. The whole cycle is important, so she prefers to partners with companies, such as Koroneiki Developments, who provide planting plans for customers as well as pre-planting, planting, and post-planting services.

Gina is passionate about being part of building  a future that protects our land, waterways,  and wildlife.

“I didn’t leave the city to do a city job in  the country.

“I’m less stressed, love working outdoors, and have a genuine feeling of purpose that what I am producing is doing good for our environment.”



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