On Saturday, 18th September, our Wellington team had over 60 volunteers join us for a final planting day to celebrate the completion of our Forest at the Heart of Wellington project. It was a great celebration of all of the work that has gone in to planting 100,000 trees over the last six decades in Wellington, led by CVNZ for the past five years. The project has been a partnership between CVNZ, the Rotary Club of Wellington, Wellington City Council and MPI’s Te Uru Rakau.
As part of Saturday’s celebration, project champion Richard Norman planted the 100,000th tree, a lovely tōtara, at the top of Ellice Street, Mt Victoria, and Wellington Mayor Andy Foster came along to thank those involved and acknowledge the hard work that got us to this point. Debbie Chin, who has so kindly provided amazing food to hungry volunteers after many of our planting days, outdid herself with a giant homemade chocolate cake emblazoned with ‘100,000’ and many little green trees.
The project began in 1968, when the Rotary Club of Wellington (RCW) planted its first trees along Lambton Quay. Between 1968 and 2016, RCW planted about 40,000 trees in Wellington, primarily in Mt Victoria. RCW member Richard Norman approached Wellington City Council about ramping up the project in 2016, to celebrate RCW’s centennial anniversary in 2021. It was in 2016 that CVNZ got involved, taking over organisation of the project and establishing our nursery in Tawatawa Reserve to grow trees for the project. CVNZ has led the planting of 60,000 trees across Wellington as part of this project since 2016, including on Mt Victoria, Tawatawa Reserve, Te Ahumairangi, and Churton Park.
CVNZ has hosted over 350 volunteer days and engaged over 3,000 volunteers as part of the project. But the project isn’t over now! We’ll be maintaining our planting sites for the next 3-5 years to ensure the native plants thrive, by removing invasive weeds and rubbish. Volunteers are always needed to help, so get in touch!
We are so excited to watch these new forests grow and flourish, and provide new habitat for our native birds, lizards and insects, right in the heart of Wellington.