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Twenty reasons we love native trees

There are so many reasons to love native trees — and we’ve hidden a bunch in this native forest picture! Can you find all twenty reasons below hiding in our big illustration? Can you think of any more reasons to love native trees?

They store carbon from our atmosphere and help reduce the effects of climate change.

They clean up waterways, protect downstream ecosystems, and help reduce flood risk.

We climb them, swing from them, and play in them—they play a big part in providing environments for recreation.

They improve our mental wellbeing. Views of nature such as our beautiful native forests reduce stress in our bodies and minds: especially for people usually in urban conditions.

They provide habitat and food sources for our native birds, bees, insects and invertebrates.

They can contribute to nutrient recycling, absorbing nutrients from intensive agriculture.

They are vital for stabilising soils, reducing sedimentation, moderating erosion.

They give us a sense of national identity (symbols like Silver Fern or koru).

They are economically important. Many industries rely on native trees: from honey production and timber value, to extracting oils for skincare.

They provide habitat for food sources like whitebait, wild game, kōura and pikopiko.

They are part of the New Zealand experience, highly valued by tourists.

They help our physical health.

They provide shade, not just for people but also for livestock.

They provide medicinal benefits.

They live for thousands of years. Unlike pine, they don’t need to be clear-felled and replanted—they keep thriving.

More native trees = greater indigenous biodiversity, meaning greater resilience and a bigger range of functions within our ecosystems.

They improve the quality of our air, absorbing carbon dioxide and emitting oxygen. Research shows Kiwi kids who spend more time surrounded by nature are less likely to develop asthma.

They’re culturally significant in Māori heritage and myth; they’re part of our whakapapa in the domain of Tāne Mahuta.

New Zealand’s natural forests provide a backdrop for activities to connect with one another and create lasting memories: think volunteering, tramping, climbing, sailing, swimming, picnicking, walking and cycling.

Our native forests provide learning opportunities at many levels of education, and there is evidence that some forms of learning are enhanced in natural settings.

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More native trees in the ground means greater biodiversity, cleaner waterways, thriving industries and stronger communities.