As Matariki draws near, Trees That Count is joining the Māori New Year celebrations by offering community groups, schools and non-profit organisations the opportunity to win native trees for local conservation projects.
Matariki is the Māori name for the Pleiades star cluster (also known as the Seven Sisters) and this year celebrations are due to begin on 25 June. Traditionally it is an occasion which signifies remembrance, fertility and celebration. How closely aligned and bright these stars shone foretold how favourable the weather and how plentiful the growing season would be in the year ahead.
Trees That Count will be gifting 300 native trees to seven groups nationwide, representative of each of the seven stars of Matariki, to help regenerate their local environment. “Matariki is a time when we show respect for the land and learn about the land we live on. We’re celebrating it by providing community groups or schools with native trees as a way to give thanks through planting,” says Trees That Count’s project director Tanya Hart.
Trees That Count is an ambitious new conservation movement which aims to unite and inspire New Zealanders to plant more native trees. For 2017, the organisation has set a goal of 4.7 million equating to one tree for every New Zealander. A live count of the number of native trees being planted across the country is being kept to monitor and measure the effects of national planting efforts every year.
“At Trees That Count we want to make a positive difference to climate change by helping to reduce our country’s carbon emissions,” says Tanya. “Planting native trees goes a long way to helping restore and enhance New Zealand’s environment. It creates habitats for native birds and insects, encourages clean air and waterways and enhances our national biodiversity.”
It is easy for community groups to get involved. “Just enter your group’s planting project and let us know why your group should win 300 trees for Matariki. It’s that simple! Don’t delay though as entries close on 30 June.”