Motukarara Conservation Nursery and Resource Centre has established itself as a 'centre of excellence' for restoration in Canterbury. It grows Canterbury plants exclusively, with an emphasis on genetic purity. The nursery propagates over 120,000 plants each year, most of which are pre-sold for restoration projects.

Where is it?

The Motukarara Conservation Nursery is located within the Waihora Domain at Motukarara. The nursery is signposted from the Christchurch-Akaroa Highway (SH 75), 30 kilometres from the centre of Christchurch.

Opening hours

Plants hardening off in the Motukarara Nursery. Photo: Annette Hamblett.
Plants hardening off in the Motukarara

The nursery is open Monday to Friday 8 am – 4 pm.
It is open on Saturdays from 10am – 3pm during the key planting seasons of Autumn (May) and Spring (September)


There is a nursery, display garden, ethno-botanical garden, and a resource centre.

Advocacy and education

The nursery aims to increase understanding of genetic purity, ecological restoration and protection. The nursery has produced a number of resources and publications.

The display garden in front of the nursery is open 24 hours and is planted with representative plantings of local plant associations found in wetlands, coastal areas and Banks Peninsula. It also has a collection of threatened plants and plants of cultural significance.

The ethno-botanical garden - Nga Tipu Whakaoranga o Tutekawa - has been developed as a living learning toolkit. From the time they first arrived in Aotearoa/New Zealand, Māori people depended on native plants for the necessities of life - food, firewood, shelter, clothing, and medicine. Nga Tipu Whakaoranga o Tutekawa celebrates the bonds between people and plants.

Visitors at an open day, Motukarara Nursery.
Visitors at an open day, Motukarara Nursery


The nursery grows Canterbury plants exclusively. Seed is collected from native plants natural to different ecological areas. The seed harvest (from January to the end of June) is done in relation to restoration projects, threatened plant programmes and sales demand. 200 different species are collected from some 20 ecological sites.

Seeds are sown until September and propagated until the end of December. From January to April the seedlings are conditioned for the autumn or spring planting. Most of the production is on a yearly cycle, but some will take two to three years. Most of the 120,000 plants produced are grown in small pots or RX pots.


Motukarara Native Plant Nursery
Phone:   +64 3 329 7846
Fax:   +64 3 329 7041
Address:   Waihora park
Christchurch 7672
Postal Address:   RD 2
Christchurch 7672

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