Auckland Mayor Phil Goff today launched Million Trees, a programme for greening Auckland which will plant a million predominantly native trees and shrubs across the region over three years.
At a launch event hosted by Wesley Intermediate School, the Mayor and local children planted trees and shrubs in the Oakley Creek catchment and revealed Million Trees partnerships with Department of Corrections and Trees That Count that will help put 170,000 plants in the ground in the programme’s first year.
The launch also opened Te Whangai Trust nursery which will be donating trees and plants to the Mayor’s programme and the Mayor announced the first tranche of plantings for 2017 allocating 30,000 trees for both the North West Wild Link and Puhinui projects, 25,000 trees and shrubs for Atiu Creek on the north Auckland border and 15,000 plants for both the Whau River project and Project Twin Streams in Henderson.
Million Trees formed a key part of Phil Goff’s mayoral campaign. It seeks to make Auckland a greener more beautiful place while providing carbon sinks to offset greenhouse gases and prevent siltation of Auckland’s harbours and waterways by planting along streams and coastal areas.
“Million Trees is an ambitious programme to green our city, offset our carbon emissions, protect our water quality and improve our living environment,” says Mr Goff.
“The response to Million Trees has been fantastic. The enthusiasm and energy of Council, local boards, the private sector and schools has been overwhelming. We are partnering with Department of Corrections, Trees That Count, and nurseries, communities and other organisations to green our city and deliver a natural asset to Aucklanders for generations to come.
“The million trees project is about involving all of our community in making Auckland a better place to live and enhancing our living environment.”
Corrections Northern Regional Commissioner Jeanette Burns says, “We are pleased that offenders can be involved in this valuable project and give something back to the community.
“Community work offenders do unpaid work in the community to pay something back for the offence they have committed. It also gives them an opportunity to take responsibility for their offending and learn new skills and work habits.
“Employment opportunities give prisoners the chance to develop work habits and gain skills and qualifications that will lead to sustainable employment and contribute to our goal of reducing.”
Sir Stephen Tindall, co-founder of The Tindall Foundation (which funds Trees That Count), encourages Aucklanders to get involved.
“We see our valued partnership with the Council as a way not only of getting a million additional trees and shrubs into the ground, but also as a springboard to encourage the participation of all Aucklanders in planting more native trees in their neighbourhood, on their farm, at school or outside their office. Planting native trees is one of the best things we can all do for the local environment and for the planet. It is also a great way to bring people together and connect them with their local community,” says Mr Tindall.
Partnering to green Auckland
The partnership with the Department of Corrections will deliver nursery space for growing trees and shrubs. Prisoners and offenders serving sentences of community work in the Auckland region will assist with site preparation, planting and maintenance.
Trees That Count will assist with planting trees and undertake a robust and independent running count of the trees delivered within the programme.
Mr Goff says, “The partnership with the Department of Corrections is crucial. It gives us the scale required to meet the Million Trees target, and having Trees That Count on board will ensure we are accurately reporting what we deliver.”
Mayor Phil Goff was joined by representatives from the Department of Corrections, Trees That Count, Te Whangai Trust, Wesley Intermediate School and the local community to plant trees in the Oakley Creek catchment in Mt Roskill.
Wesley Intermediate also commemorated the occasion with a 100 metre long mural designed by its pupils depicting the Million Trees programme and other local environmental community initiatives. The mural can be seen by the public by visiting Mt Roskill’s war memorial park.