In August 2009 we announced a new initiative: those with the ideal garden or habitat for butterflies and moths can apply for certification. That year three applicants received beautiful plaques telling everyone that their space is what it is: ideal habitat for selected species of butterflies and moths, and were profiled in local media.

In that way we believe that other people – gardeners and land-owners – will be encouraged to create more butterfly habitat, or to visit certified areas to see how they can make their own space more attractive. There are some wonderful species of butterflies and moths in NZ that any of us can encourage once we understand what they need.

Before applying for certification ensure your garden or habitat meets the following criteria:

•   privately owned or public spaces, e.g. owned by council, landcare groups, schools etc;

•   outdoor landscapes

•   has host plants for at least three different Lepidoptera species;

•   has nectar plants for all seasons of the year;

•   has evergreen shelter trees of appropriate height on southern side of garden;

•   has water for puddling;

•   particularly in public spaces there should be signage on display (noticeboard, website, brochure or whatever) as to what plants were planted for what species (hosts) and/or nectar during what season of the year (to inspire and encourage others to keep a continuity of planting);

•   predators and parasites to be discouraged by natural means;

•   been established for two or three years. The application should be able to provide evidence such as photographs, references etc. We want to discourage groups or people who plant up a piece of garden and then apply to be certified. Planting for butterflies and/or moths needs ongoing commitment and perseverance. Similarly indoor habitats with tropical species do not qualify, as the idea is to boost numbers of NZ’s endemic and native species.

If you have a butterfly garden or habitat (don’t forget: moths too!) of which you are proud, and if you believe it meets the above criteria download the application form here.

Application Form

For a small fee of $60 you will receive a beautiful colourful plaque suitable for permanent display outdoors, and a year’s subscription to our quarterly full-colour magazine.

This handy sheet (two pages) gives you more information about the various categories.

Creating Butterfly Friendly Habitats info


2009: Te Puna Quarry Park, Bay of Plenty; Verran Road School, North Shore, Auckland; West Lynn Garden, New Lynn, Auckland.

2010: Earthlore, Owaka, South Otago.

2011: ‘Wildwind’, (Jane Carver/Peter Herbert), Milson, Palmerston North

2013: Jacqui Knight, Blockhouse Bay

2014: Sam Benjamin, Blockhouse Bay; Saint Kentigern College, Pakuranga; ‘Butterflies at Bethells’ (Susan Green), Bethells Beach.

2015: The Bright Side Charitable Trust Community Garden, Auckland

2016: ‘Te Matuku Bay’, Waiheke

2017: Yealands Family Estate, Seddon, Marlborough and Harris Family, Northcote.

2020: Blockhouse Bay Recreational Reserve Butterfly Habitat, Hobbiton, Monarchs in Apollo Park, Paripuma

2021: Cedars Creek Restoration Project (Matthews Track), Sawyers Bay, Otago, Halfway House, Glenside Reserve, Wellington