Backyard Planting

PLease note: Due to overwhelming demand, we are no longer accepting requests for free trees. We are completely out.

CVNZ has teamed up with Mondelēz New Zealand to give away 1,500 free native trees and shrubs to households in Auckland and Christchurch to help attract native birds and bees to your backyard. Whether you have a small or large garden, it’s easy to attract birds year-round, especially in winter when many species will travel further in search of food. We’ve chosen a range of trees to suit most gardens.

We have a variety of trees available for pick up from our Christchurch and Auckland offices. We also have resources below to help you learn how to plant a tree and about each tree species, where it grows best, size, and species it attracts. Please see our species list below. Get in touch to confirm what’s available and arrange a collection. We have a limit of 10 trees per household but let us know if you have a project that could require more, such as for a school or community group.

Auckland: Kawakawa, Kōwhai, Pūriri,  Māpou, Tītoki,  Putaputawētā, Houhere.  (Due to overwhelming demand, we are no longer accepting requests for trees in Auckland)          

Christchurch: Māhoe, Kōwhai, Māpou, Putaputawētā, Whauwhaupaku (Fivefinger).

Learn more about each of our tree species


Why plant native trees in your backyard?

New Zealand native trees are wonderfully unique and our flora has evolved in isolation for millions of years. Native trees have many important benefits. They are perfectly suited to our environments and ecosystems and provide important food, shelter and habitats for our native birds, bats, lizards, invertebrates and aquatic life.

Planting native trees and shrubs in your backyard is a great way to attract birds, lizards, bees and other insects to your garden and eventually could create a greenway across the city and a safe space for our feathered friends to call home. It doesn’t matter the size of your garden. Any garden can be made more attractive to wildlife, even smaller ones. Your garden may not be large enough for birds to nest and breed, but they may still use it for food and shelter. In urban areas, many parks, wetlands and native bush are smaller and spread out across a larger area. Your garden may help birds move between these areas.

What to plant to attract birds to your garden

Native birds like to feed on a variety of different foods including insects, nectar, fruit, berries, seeds and even foliage. For example, Kererū love to feed on berries and nectar while fantails most love insects. There are some important things to consider when planting trees for birds in your backyard.

  • It’s great to grow a variety of different food sources and also to try plant a range of plants so that your garden can provide food all year round.
  • Choose plants that vary in height but make sure they don't grow too large or wide for the space that you plant them.
  • Allow debris and leaf litter to build up under your trees and around your garden. This encourages insects which are a great food source for many species of birds.
  • Allow an area of your garden to become overgrown and undisturbed. This will encourage bird nesting and attract insects and lizards.

Keep your garden safe for birds

If you wish to attract native birds to your garden, please make sure that it is a safe place for them.

  • Backyard trapping is a great way to control dangerous predators such as rats, stoats and possums which prey on birds, their eggs and chicks. Check out this great post by Predator Free NZ to find out more.
  • Have a cat? Keep your cat inside, particularly at night and make sure it wears a bell. Cats are great companion animals but are also highly efficient predators.
  • Provide clean water, particularly in summer, so birds can stay hydrated. A bird bath is a great way to attract birds.
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