Children and adults were eager to be involved in the Mokihi Reforestation Trust’s first Cromwell Nature Day on Saturday.

Trust chairman Blair Walter said 80-90 people attended the event at their Richards Beach site.

Participants could build their own mokihi, the rafts by which Maori travelled New Zealand’s waterways that were usually made from flax. The mini mokihi were shaped like a catamaran, with one hull carved to hold seeds buried in mud.

Those seeds — native broadleaf, lemonwood, flax and kowhai plants, would be carried down the Clutha River and deposited on banks where they might take root and grow.

Planting for the future …Kieran Parsons and daughters, Stella (2) and Frieda (5) plant a native tree at the Cromwell Nature Day on Saturday.

Trustee Greg Lind ferried the completed mokihi out to the centre of the river on a kayak, releasing them into the strong current to begin their voyage.

He also pointed out to participants the many seedlings along the river’s edges that would have been carried there themselves at some time.

Participants could also plant native trees and shrubs, assist with watering and adding mulch to conserve soil moisture, or be entertained by The Bug Guy, Ruud Kleinpaste.

The entomologist is passionate about nature, natural resources, ecology and environment-friendly living and loves sharing stories about his hobbies, particularly insects and spiders. His enthusiasm for the ‘‘creepycrawlies’’ won over many of those who were initially hesitant about holding spiders, katydids and wetas, and soon many small hands were reaching out to hold an insect.

A bug’s world …Entomologist Ruud Kleinpaste, aka The Bug Guy, encourages people to listen to the natural world, as Molly Mexted (13) looks on.

The trust was formed in 2016 and this was the first time it had planned an event of that magnitude for the wider community, Mr Walter said.

‘‘We were really pleased with the interest and how much people enjoyed being on the site, planting trees and learning how to care for them.

‘‘Community participation and awareness of habitat restoration is important. We need to all play our part.’’