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|Oratia in a nutshell|
The nursery's roots go back to the 1970s when Geoff Davidson began growing native plants in response to local environmental issues. Native ecosystems were being destroyed through forest clearance and development of subdivisions. Geoff saw the need to reverse the destructive trend and started propagating natives as a hobby. Since then the nursery has grown to become a major supplier of native plants to the Auckland market and beyond.
Located in West Auckland's Waitakere Ranges, the nursery site covers over three hectares of production area.
Oratia Native Plant Nursery is proud of the wide range of native plants it stocks, from ground covers and wetland species to large specimen trees. It has also become known for producing some of the more interesting and unusual New Zealand native plants, encompassing many rare and difficult-to-grow species that are not available elsewhere.
Most of the nursery's stock is eco-sourced, with the location from which it was first collected recorded on our purpose-built computer system. This ensures the nursery can identify and provide plants which are appropriate to a given area. Although the focus is on the top half of the North Island, Oratia's most prominent and demanding eco-sourcing project to date was 'Bush City' at Te Papa Museum in Wellington, with plants sourced from eco-systems around the country.
Oratia's work extends beyond the commercial possibilities of native plants and it cooperates closely with various agencies and groups ranging from the NZ Plant Conservation Network to government scientists and young research students, in order to increase our knowledge of New Zealand's indigenous species. A particular interest in endemic and endangered plants has saved species from extinction. For example, an 'orchard' of Pennantia baylisiana (once the world's rarest plant) has been established to provide a seed bank for future replanting.
The nursery continues its long association with the New Zealand Native Forests Restoration Trust, actively supporting the Trust's ambitious programme of purchasing reserve land throughout the country, and thus ensuring the long term viability of our native flora and fauna in the wild.Oratia Native Plant Nursery is confident that with the ever-increasing awareness of our natural environment, the future is positive for New Zealand's indigenous species.