Rosemary Gear: Civic Award winner 2022

Published on 09 November 2022

022 Civic Award recipient Rosemary Gear.

At Adderstone Reserve, Pari Reserve, and Titoki Reserve, the growing results of Rosemary Gear’s community work flank the gullies and stream banks of Palmerston North’s eastern hillside suburbs.

As a member of Green Corridors Range to River, Rosemary has played a key role in the organisation’s plans to grow ribbons of eco-sourced native vegetation along the streams that drain the Tararua Range into the Manawatū River.

Since 2001, Green Corridors volunteers have planted over 100,000 native plants in the 15 hectares of gullies around Summerhill, and the 10 hectares of riparian margin that border the Turitea Stream.

It’s physical work that beautifies the landscape while restoring habitat and encouraging the migration of native birds into the city.

Active in planning, recruiting, team building, distributing, planting, site and tree maintenance, trapping pests and weed control, Rosemary has headed the formation and directed the activities of many sets of these volunteer groups over the years.

Engaging with a wide range of ages from primary, secondary, and tertiary students through to retirees, she has also recruited and motivated other groups to work in the upper and lower Titoki reserves and the Mangaotāne Reserve.

As well as coordinating and motivating the volunteer working parties and maintenance teams, Rosemary liaises with the plant nursery, with landowners bordering the planting strips, and with City Council and Horizons staff. 

Her sound knowledge of Manawatū’s lowland plants, the terrain, soil, effects of climate and weather, are augmented by the records she keeps of plantings, the state and maturity of the existing canopies, and the costs involved.

This ensures that volunteers are not over-extended and work within their means.

Detailed reports of progress are presented monthly to the Green Corridors committee.

In 2017 Rosemary initiated a Green Corridors logo competition and issued the newly branded t-shirts to her volunteers to help highlight weekend working-bee activities.

A resident of Moonshine Valley in Aokautere since 1988, this special character enclave has benefited in many ways from Rosemary’s community building.

Early on she started a Neighbourhood Support group. This played a pivotal role in ensuring the welfare and boosting the morale of residents during COVID-19 lockdown.

As well as helping restore the native flora of the valley’s Tutukiwi Reserve, in 2017 Rosemary was involved in setting up Palmerston North’s first Predator Free programme in collaboration with the City Council.

She liaised with council staff for traps that she distributed so neighbours could run and monitor their own trap-lines. As a result, the valley’s predator population has decreased significantly, with a corresponding increase in birdlife.

These are all long-term projects to restore, enhance and promote enjoyment of the natural environment. These are jewels in the making and Rosemary is inspired by how beautiful the planted Green Corridor areas will look long after she has gone.