Who’s living in Bush City? A citizen science investigation

Who’s living in Bush City? A citizen science investigation

Over 7–9 April, Te Papa is helping to host New Zealand’s first symposium dedicated to citizen science – the involvement of the community in scientific research.  There are presentations on Monday 9 April, and various practical workshops during the preceding weekend. One of the workshops is a bioblitz of Te Papa’s Bush City – Botany Curator Leon Perrie tells us more.

We’re having a “bioblitz” of Bush City, 1–4 pm Sunday 8 April, to see what insects, birds, fungi, and plants we can find. Tim Park from Wellington City Council, Te Papa’s entomologist Julia Kasper, and myself will be leading the way.

Diverse variety of bush and a bridge pathway through it
Bush City, 2018. Photograph by Leon Perrie

We’ll be using the iNaturalist app to do our recording, and we’ll show you how to use this platform. However, no worries if you’re not into devices – just bring along your senses to help with the searching.

I’m especially excited to discover how many species have moved into Bush City since it was established more than 20 years ago. We know what species were originally planted, and I know of one significant immigrant – giant pig fern. But who else has moved in? As Bush City matures from a garden, how connected has it become to the broader Wellington ecosystem?

Close up of giant pig fern
Giant pig fern (Hypolepis dicksonioides) has made its own way into Bush City – nobody planted it. It is a regionally uncommon species so it is great that Bush City has provided another home for it.

More information about the Bush City bioblitz [PDF, 169 KB]

Those not in the Wellington region or able to make it on the day can still be involved by following the link below. Maybe you’ll be able to help us identify what we find.

Bush City bioblitz on NatureWatchNZ

Other citizen science workshops

The citizen science weekend (Saturday 7 and Sunday 8 April) of free workshops also includes:

  • bird monitoring.
  • getting data from pest trapping.
  • assessing freshwater quality.
  • monitoring re-vegetation efforts.
  • assessing seashore biodiversity.

More details about these workshops

Citizen Science talks

The workshops are part of the broader Citizen Science symposium. This includes a day of presentations at Te Papa on Monday 9 April.

Programme and registration details


  1. I would like to know if its possible to incorporate gardens with new building developments?
    For its my belief that if you give gardens with extra compacted housing such as will happen to Auckland, that the plants clear the air plus aid ecology if you addplants that are friendly to bees and butterflies.
    Which may mean proper architecture which includes an area for apartment gardens in various places or even pet friendly?

    1. Author

      Kia ora Pamela. It is certainly possible. Gardens can be established what might at first seem the most unlikely places. Mexico City is putting them on motorway infrastructure: http://www.thecivilengineer.org/news-center/latest-news/item/1157-vertical-gardens-in-mexico-city-to-combat-pollution
      I’ve seen similar vertical gardens in Wellington (albeit on a smaller scale): https://wellington.govt.nz/your-council/news/2015/02/greening-the-city-with-a-living-wall

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