New Zealand Prime Minister Right Honourable Jacinda Ardern delighted Wellington children and families on Sunday, by
attending a special Matariki native tree planting event celebrating Kiwi babies.
The planting event, hosted by charity organisation Trees That Count and Wellington City Council, was held to follow up a
Trees That Count crowdfunding campaign launched on the arrival of the first baby Neve in 2018, encouraging New
Zealanders to gift native trees to babies close to them.
11,500 native trees were donated to this campaign and are being planted in community planting projects across Wellington
and Auckland this year.
Another special baby was also celebrated on the day, with the planting of 10 native trees gifted to royal baby Archie
Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor as part of Jacinda Ardern’s official gift from New Zealand.
PM Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern planted a tōtara tree for daughter Neve, and said she was thrilled to be there for the planting
of trees for baby Archie.
“I can’t think of a better gift than 10 native trees for future generations to climb in!” said Ms Ardern.
Trees That Count CEO Adele Fitzpatrick said planting native trees is a meaningful legacy for parents to gift their young
"Our native trees are so important to our environment and biodiversity here in New Zealand, and it makes Matariki all
the more special when we plant native trees in honour of our future generations,” said Ms Fitzpatrick.
“We hope there'll be a cultural shift in New Zealand where gifting a native tree when a baby is born is just the Kiwi
thing to do."
Also in attendance at the Wellington Matariki event were Wellington Mayor Justin Lester, Ambassador to the Kingdom of
the Netherlands Mira Woldberg, MP for Rongotai Paul Eagle, Southern Ward Councillor Fleur Fitzsimons, Ray Smith –
Director-General Ministry for Primary Industries and Julie Collins – Deputy Director-General Te Uru Rākau who helped to
plant ceremonial miro and tōtara trees. Local families mucked in alongside with a total of 500 native trees planted at
the site in Newtown.
The planting event supports the Forest at the Heart of Wellington project – a partnership between the Rotary Club,
Wellington City Council and Conservation Volunteers New Zealand. This valuable project is working to restore indigenous
biodiversity across the Wellington Town Belt.
More about Trees That Count
Trees That Count was established in 2016 as a programme of Project Crimson, the charitable conservation trust which led
the efforts to restore pōhutukawa and rātā from its near extinction almost 30 years ago
Trees That Count has extended the efforts to include all native trees and runs the country’s first tree marketplace
which connects funded and gifted trees to deserving community groups, iwi, local councils, schools and individuals
looking to strengthen their own planting projects.
Trees That Count is generously supported by The Tindall Foundation and Te Uru Rākau through the One Billion Trees
programme, alongside the many businesses and individuals who are donating through the marketplace.