Forestry Minister Shane Jones has launched a tree planting programme called Matariki Tū Rākau to remember and recognise those men and women who have served in the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF).
Communities across the country are set to plant up to 350,000 trees during the month of Matariki this year to recognise the people in our armed forces. It will be carried out on various types of land, such as marae, public parks, and places of remembrance.
Mr Jones says, “Just under 30,000 men and women have died in action since the beginning of the First World War.”
He says, the Ministry of Primary Industries and the Ministry of Culture and Heritage will work closely with Local Government New Zealand and iwi to identify suitable land for planting as well as appropriate consents.
“This is another initiative in the One Billion Trees planting programme and will mostly be native trees," says Jones.
He also says, “We want to see families and the wider community getting involved in recognition to the NZDF personnel who have proudly served their country. It would also potentially provide an opportunity for communities to recognise special groups such as the Māori Battalion.”
The Ministry for Primary Industries will partner with the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, Ministry of Defence, New Zealand Defence Force, Te Puni Kōkiri, iwi and the Returned Services Association and is in discussions with Local Government New Zealand to deliver the initiative.