French Legacy for Hawke’s Bay Maraetotara Tree Trust

Press Release – Maraetotara Tree Trust

French Legacy for Hawke’s Bay

A trust established with money given by France, following the sinking of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior, is benefitting one of Hawke’s Bay’s largest private conservation projects.

The Pacific Development and Conservation Trust has granted $37,500 towards the costs of the Maraetotara Tree Trust’s River Restoration Infill Planting Project.

The Maraetotara Tree Trust is half-way through restoring both banks of the Maraetotara River’s 43km corridor through Hastings District.

Once riverbanks are cleared of willows and fenced by Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, the Trust plants the banks with native species, typically planting between 10,000 and 15,000 trees and flaxes a year. Inevitably some of the new plantings do not survive and the grant will enable those gaps to be filled and the planting of canopy trees.

Maraetotara Tree Trust volunteer treasurer Alan Berry said Trustees were “delighted “with the grant.

“Funding sources are generally keener to fund an increase of area planted rather than remediation and continuation of existing plantings,” he said.

“We are very grateful the Pacific Trust saw the importance and value in the project. It will enable 7000 trees to be strategically placed in existing plantings to ensure the river and its surrounds will return to their former glory.”

Trust volunteer chair Pat Turley says he and co-trustee volunteers “always had a vision of adding forest giants to existing plantings”, some of which were 15 years old. Prior to the Trust’s establishment in 2002 the Maraetotara River suffered from water-quality issues including high nutrient levels, high water temperatures and livestock access.

Mr Turley said while the project had a distance to go before completion, water quality was improving. Replanted banks increasingly provided sanctuary for native birds as it linked with other conservation projects such as the Cape to City predator-control biodiversity project and Cape Sanctuary situated on Cape Kidnappers, and Te Mata Park he said.

The Pacific Development and Conservation Trust was established in 1989 with money received from France in recognition of the events surrounding the destruction of the Greenpeace ship Rainbow Warrior in Auckland on 10 July 1985. Each year it donates about $250,000 to charitable activities and projects that will benefit Pacific countries and territories.
ENDS

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