The Gore District Council has been restoring land near Hamilton Park back to its natural habitat.

School pupils, service clubs and major businesses have been lending a hand to plant about 2500 native plants at the park.

About 30 pupils from St Mary’s School spent Thursday morning digging holes and planting trees.

Gore parks and recreation manager Keith McRobie said it was a good way to get people helping the community.

‘‘It’s great for the kids, much better than them being in the classroom,’’ Mr McRobie said.

The project is a continuation of the work done in 2005 by the Gore and District Amenities Trust.

‘‘They were keen to see a big native planting in the Gore urban area.’’

The trust is providing funding for half the plants.

The plants are from the Pukerau Nursery and represent native species originally found in the area.

St Mary’s teacher Michelle Christie said it was good way for the pupils to give back to the park.

‘‘It fits with our Catholic teaching principle of stewardship. That’s about looking after God’s creatures,’’ Mrs Christie said.

‘‘It’s a great practical way for the children to put those principles into use.’’

Pupils worked together in groups of five to plant the trees.

Pupil Henry Christie (7) liked the chance to plant trees.

‘‘I’m having fun,’’ Henry said.

About Mataura Valley Milk staff were there to help with planting.

Mataura Valley Milk interim general manager John Roberts said it was a good initiative to support.

‘‘It’s about being part of the community and helping out the locals,’’ Mr Roberts said.

The project coincided with King Charles III’s request that native trees and shrubs be planted to honour his coronation.