Planting smart to help prevent power outages

Case Studies Community

Urban Forest – Building resilient communities 

The Vector Urban Forest is a promise from Vector to plant two native trees for every tree we cut down to protect Auckland’s powerlines. It’s about working together to look after our power, our trees and our communities. We hope that through the Vector Urban Forest, we encourage Aucklanders to be smart about planting near power lines, and help us contribute positively to regenerating Auckland’s ecosystems and increasing canopy cover across the city.

Why are we doing this?

Through the Vector Urban Forest, we’re aiming to raise awareness of the need to keep trees well clear from power lines as well as encourage greater awareness of ‘planting smartly’; choosing the right species to plant around powerlines to help avoid power outages.

Our discussion paper Working Together on Resilience, identifies tree management as an area where we believe more can be done to help achieve better power network resilience.  By doing more to encourage joint responsibility around tree management near powerlines, we’re taking steps to build this resilience.

Trees provide a number of benefits for our city both from an environmental and social perspective.  

Working together

Managing trees is a community responsibility and by working together, we can help prevent power outages and keep the community safe. See more about who’s responsible for what trees around the network.

The Vector Urban Forest also provides an opportunity for Vector to engage with local communities and work together on creating a positive and sustainable legacy for future generations.  This aligns with our firm commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal of creating more sustainable cities and communities.

The launch of the Urban Forest

In September 2018 we launched the Vector Urban Forest programme with a planting event at Puhinui Reserve, South Auckland with the help of Sustainable Coastlines. Over two days, employees from Vector, teams from Northpower, Electrix, Treescape, Auckland Council, a number of local businesses, school groups and community volunteers came together to plant approximately 15,000 native seedlings. 

So far, the Urban Forest has planted 31,000 trees in the Puhinui catchment, stretching from Totara Park to the Puhinui Reserve. This catchment is one of the most significant tributaries of the Manukau Harbour, impacting both environmental and social outcomes, flowing through farmland, reserve, industrial areas, communities, and the Manukau town centre. Planting in the Puhinui catchment is helping to improve water quality, reduce tree inequality, and increase the visual amenity of the area. 

About the Puhinui planting area

The reserve is a diverse ecological area that protects a variety of ecosystems and habitats, including the Puhinui Stream that runs through the reserve which is an important spawning area for inanga or whitebait.

We have planted a range of native trees, shrubs and grasses, helping to remove sediment and excess nutrients, reduce erosion, provide shade, shelter and habitat to birds and stream organisms, as well as capture carbon dioxide, which contributes in the ongoing battle against climate change.

About the Totara park planting area

Totara Park is at the headwaters of the Puhinui Stream, in the same catchment as our launch planting event. The local mountain bike club is building tracks through the area which we have planted around, meaning our Urban Forest is helping to achieve both recreational and environmental outcomes in the area. 

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