News | 5 June 2019
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Celebrating Arbor Day by expanding forest at the heart of Wellington

Wellington is about to embark on its largest community-led tree-planting programme with a $490,000 boost from the Government’s One Billion Trees Programme.

Image of team digging on Mt Vic for Arbor Day
Mayor Justin Lester supports partners CVNZ and RCW in restoring nature to the city

Volunteers will plant at least 45,000 natives in the Mt Victoria Town Belt over three years, courtesy of the Matariki Tu Rākau initiative, which funds plantings to recognise the men and women who have served in the New Zealand Defence Force.

It will recreate a native forest in the heart of the city. Community planting will start on 15 June.

Conservation Volunteers New Zealand (CVNZ) is managing the project in partnership with Rotary Club of Wellington (RCW) and Wellington City Council (WCC).

Funding from the One Billion Trees Programme will significantly increase the work that volunteers are doing to restore nature in Wellington,” says CVNZ Regional Manager Kellie Benner.

“We want to inspire people to connect with nature. We are excited to be creating opportunities for people to plant trees to remember our fallen.”

Rotary Club of Wellington’s President Marion Cowden says that when combined with other Rotary Club planting initiatives in Wellington, this massive effort will see 100,000 trees planted across Wellington.

Tree planting has long been part of our club culture, and now it will become an enduring way to celebrate the centenary of our club and Rotary in New Zealand.”

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester says Wellington City Council is proud to support partners CVNZ and RCW, which are working hard to restore nature in the city.

It's fantastic the Government is investing locally to support the massive effort that our community is making to restore our Eco-city.

Arbor Day is a fantastic time to reflect on how the city is changing and celebrate nature. I encourage you to get out and plant some trees this winter.”

The One Billion Trees Programme - Matariki Tu Rākau initiative is an important part of encouraging communities to plant trees as living memorials says Head of Te Uru Rākau - Forestry New Zealand’s Julie Collins.

We are aiming to encourage communities throughout the country to plant 350,000 trees, and it’s great to see Wellingtonians respond so positively to this national initiative.”

Planting days:

WHERE: Mt Victoria Wellington. Exact location determined about a week before the planting day.

WHEN: Saturdays 15 June, 27 July, 17 August, 7 September.

WHAT TO BRING: A spade and gloves if possible. We will have some available on the day. Morning tea provided.


Notes to editors:

About Matariki Tu Rakau

The Matariki Tu Rākau Programme led by Te Uru Rākau Forestry New Zealand, is part of the many initiatives around the country marking the 100-year anniversary of the end of the First World War. It is also part of the Government’s One Billion Trees Programme.

Over three years, starting in June 2018, the Matariki Tu Rākau programme will see communities across the country plant up to 350,000 trees. Whether large or small, these stands of trees will create living memorials to our service personnel of the past and present.  

The programme offers funding through councils, marae, RNZRSAs or other community organisations and encourages public participation in locally-organised planting projects.

Trees will be planted on various types of publicly accessible land such as public parks, reserves, Marae and places of remembrance.

Matariki Tu Rākau plantings have been held so far in Auckland, Bay of Plenty, Christchurch, Dunedin, Nelson, Taranaki, Wairoa, Waikato and Wellington.

Te Uru Rākau encourages communities to work together to plan their local Matariki Tu Rākau projects, choosing suitable public places for trees to be planted, and the appropriate species. There is a preference for indigenous species and importance is placed on the right tree for the right place to ensure healthy and stable plantings.

More information is online at

About Conservation Volunteers New Zealand

Established in 2006 in New Zealand, and drawing on over 30 years’ experience through Conservation Volunteers Australia, our expertise in managing volunteer involvement in conservation projects is widely recognised.

With offices in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and Punakaiki, (and over 25 offices in Australia), we work in partnership with community and with all levels of government, non-governmental organisations and many of New Zealand’s top businesses to tackle a diverse range of conservation projects. We bring people together to connect with each other and to care for the natural places we all cherish.

Our vision is to inspire change by connecting people with nature.

Our mission is to attract and manage volunteers to participate in projects that protect or enhance our environment and heritage.