Biodiversity (sustainable operations)

AUT aims to provide a place where native biodiversity thrives and students, staff and the wider community are exposed to aspects of our natural heritage to foster understanding and care.

Our sense of place, belonging, balance and contentedness can all be influenced by the relationship we develop with the unique biodiversity where we live – and as a significant landholder in the Auckland region, AUT has a big role to play in protecting and enriching our natural environment. Our open spaces and green spaces on our campuses are open to the public.

What we're doing to meet biodiversity targets

To meet biodiversity targets, we will:

  • Make sure all new plantings on campus are regionally sourced indigenous species (except for fruit and vegetables)
  • Maximise the number of plants and animals indigenous to the region
  • Exclude, control, and remove exotic pest plants and animals
  • Improve weed management practices
  • Include Mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) in all projects
  • Increase partnerships to provide knowledge, collaboration, and ecological linkages

Biodiversity initiatives on campus

Our initiatives to improve and protect biodiversity on our campuses include pest control and monitoring, choosing native plants, and hosting beehives


Five beehives at the North Campus produce honey that is used and sold in AUT cafes. There is also a ‘solitary bee’ hotel which is based on designs by students from the School of Art and Design. Many native bees are solitary, so this hotel will support them as well as other insects. Bees are essential for supporting the growth of a significant amount of the food we eat and for pollinating our native plants and trees.

Native planting

A preference for native plants is incorporated into plant and tree selections around the AUT campuses. A 2021 tree survey of our three campuses found:

  • South Campus:  puriri, kowhai, totara and pohutukawa dominate with approximately 24% native and 76% exotic (introduced)
  • City Campus: titoki, nikau, puka, totara and rewarewa are in the majority with approximately 82% native and 18% exotic
  • North Campus: pohutukawa, kauri and puriri dominate with approximately 46% native and 54% exotic

Pest control and monitoring

Introduced pests are the biggest threat to New Zealand's biodiversity.

Pest plants and animals are controlled at all campuses, and AUT’s North Campus has trapping lines running through the forested area which aim to remove predators and protect nearby nesting dotterels. Monitoring lines in the same area give us an insight into the different predators here – mainly possums, rats and mice. The trapping and monitoring lines are managed by the School of Sport and Recreation.

What you can do

There are lots of ways you can help protect New Zealand's biodiversity. Here are just a few:

  • Get to know common pest plants and remove them from your property
  • Report pest plants on an AUT campus to
  • Learn about biodiversity in New Zealand and why it is important
  • Plant bee friendly plants
  • Get involved in community planting or clean up days
  • Join your local predator control group

AUT's sustainability targets

Learn about all of our sustainability targets, and what we're doing to achieve them, in the AUT Sustainability Roadmap.

Sustainability Roadmap