In 1990 the President of Rotary International, Paulo Costa, announced ‘Preserve Planet Earth’ as the theme for the year. Auckland’s Pakuranga Rotary Club took up the challenge by launching the Trees for Survival programme.
The aim of the programme was to grow native seedlings to plant on unstable land, to prevent erosion, improve stream flow and water quality, increase native biodiversity and offset carbon emissions. It was also recognised that growing and caring for native trees had significant educational outcomes.
Over thirty years later, Trees for Survival is a charitable trust which works with over 150 schools and local communities across New Zealand to grow and plant native trees along waterways and environmentally at-risk sites.
Their environmental education programme provides a hands-on opportunity for schoolchildren to make a practical difference to their environment. They also learn about conservation, revegetation, wetland restoration, protecting stream water quality and creating habitat for our native wildlife.
Photo: Children from Hikutaia School planting on the Trail.
In August this year, schools from the Hauraki Plains, including Hikutaia, Puriri, Miller Ave, St Francis and Thames South Schools joined Trees For Survival out on the Trail, planting a total of 2960 native plants. The children of St Francis’s School alone planted 940 native plants at Wainui Road in Matatoki beside the Hauraki Rail Trail. They completed their work so quickly, they were also able to enjoy a walk on the Trail.
St Francis’s day saw 24 students, 1 teacher, 7 supporters from HELP Waihi, and 4 other helpers planting trees for 1000m along the stretch of waterway beside the Trail. The trees planted will not only provide shelter, but also a lasting legacy future Trail users can be proud of.
About the plants
230 x Karamu planted (Coprosma Robusta)
Common throughout New Zealand and easily recognised by its bright orange fruit, Karamu grows up to 6m tall and provides food for birds in Winter. It easily self-seeds which makes it a great plant for many restoration projects.
70 x Harakeke planted (Flax / Phormium Tenax)
Flax grows well in a wide range of habitats and is abundantly found througout New Zealand. Its flower stalks can grow up to 4m tall and tui and bellbird are epecially fond of the nectar.
300 x Ti Kouka planted (Cabbage Tree / Cordyline Australis)
Being one of our most iconic natives, Ti Kouka trees were an important food source and weaving plant for early settlers in New Zealand. It can be found throughout the country from sea level up to 600m elevation. Tui and kereru enjoy its white and pale blue fruit in Summer.
170 x Mahoe planted (Whiteywood / Melicytus Ramiflorus)
Mahoe is a fast growing tree and a great species for restoration projects. It grows up to 10m with violet to dark purple berries in Summer which birds are fond of.
If you would like to support the Hauraki Rail Trail Traps & Trees Programme that Trees For Survival are supporting, you can donate via our Givealittle Page here.
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