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Welcome Forest: A planting day's planned at Jardine Park tomorrow to put in the first 1000 trees of a 'Welcome Forest'

By GUY WILLIAMS

The first 1000 trees of a native ‘Welcome Forest’ will be planted at Kelvin Heights’ Jardine Park tomorrow, and organisers hope lots of migrant families and newcomers will come and help.

The planting day, running from 9am to noon, will put down the first roots of a forest designed to be a symbolic welcome to newcomers to the Wakatipu.

The project’s being run by Trees That Count, a spinoff of national environmental charity Project Crimson.

It runs the country’s only online native tree marketplace, matching funded or gifted trees with planting groups throughout the country.

In this case, the trees, which include kowhai, matai, mountain beech and ti kouka (cabbage tree), have been paid for by Z Energy.

The forest will be maintained by Queenstown’s active Wakatipu Reforestation Trust.

Trees That Count marketing whiz and Arrowtowner Melanie Seyfort says it’s the fourth
Welcome Forest it’s spearheaded, with the others in Christchurch, Auckland and Wellington.

‘‘We’re hoping for a really good turnout, and we’d like to see as much diversity as we can.’’

Seyfort hopes many new Wakatipu citizens — who’re given native trees in pots at citizenship ceremonies — will choose to plant them in the forest, and keep returning with their children to see them grow.

The site will be blessed tomorrow by local Ngai Tahu kaumatua Darren Rewi.

Among those getting stuck in will be Queenstown mayor Jim Boult and a representative of the Human Rights Commission.

Boult says the new forest comes at a fitting time for migrants.

‘‘This is an extremely challenging time for many, and our migrant families have been some
of the worst affected by the impacts of Covid-19.

“We want them to know they’re a valued part of our community … and we hope this Welcome Forest will help deepen their connection to Queenstown for generations to come.”

The planting area’s focused on the recently clear-felled area near Jardine Park’s main gates.

guy.williams@scene.co.nz