What makes a nine-year-old forgo Nintendo game or Nerf gun birthday gifts in favour of native trees? We chatted to Quentin Graham, a Hamilton schoolboy who raised funds to plant 33 native trees for his birthday.
Kia ora Quentin! What made you decide to fund native trees for your birthday this year?
Hello! I was trying to think of something cool to do at my party instead of presents. I told my mom I wanted to do something to help the environment. She told me about Trees That Count. I really liked the idea. We shared the information on the invitations.
Do you spend lots of time outdoors? What do you like best about New Zealand bush?
Yes, we spend a lot of time outdoors. We love hiking and trekking. We have done Tongariro Crossing, Te Aroha, and lots of other hikes and walks. I like exploring the bush and looking for creatures or signs of them. I also like noticing weird trees and exploring caves and caverns.
Do you have a favourite native tree?
I admire tōtara and pōhutukawa best. I like tōtara because they are big, strong, water resistant, and can live for hundreds of years. I like pōhutukawa because of their unique red blooms and their ability to hang onto cliff faces and rock.
Wow! $330 is a lot. How many of your friends donated?
I think around 16 friends donated.
What did your friends think of your idea for a birthday present?
Lots of my friends thought it was a great idea, especially the parents. They brought the money to the party, and I counted after. I hope some of them do it for their birthdays too. I am planning to do it next year for my birthday. I like how you can keep track from year to year on the website. I wish your organisation good luck.
I thought you might like to see this video of where your trees will be planted! Watch from about 1 minute 20 for Stu Muir’s property. Cool eh? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4R-dvIqttfw&t=84s
I liked this video! I would be very excited and interested to help plant the trees if possible.
Planting their native trees just isn't something we're practically able to arrange for every generous donor. However, this time we were in luck: Stu was in need of some willing hands, and Quentin's mum and dad were more than happy to load up their car with a crew of helpers. Here's some pics from the day.
You can set up your own native tree registry here: https://www.treesthatcount.co.nz/registries/