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500 native plants to give away: Botany Town Centre

500 native plants to give away at Botany Town Centre

11 June 2004

The Auckland Regional Council will give away 500 native plants at Botany Town Centre next Thursday.

The giveaway will be at the Botany Town Centre soundshell, from 12 noon to 2pm on Thursday 17th June.

It is part of an ARC campaign, supported by TV ONE, to encourage Aucklanders to plant more natives and to value native trees. It is also part of an Auckland wide giveaway of more than 2000 native trees.

In New Zealand at least 80% of plant species are endemic, which means they occur nowhere else in the world. More than 300 of these plants are at risk of extinction. In Auckland about 180 plants are at risk.

ARC Parks and Heritage Committee Chairman Bill Burrill says the campaign is part of the Council's role to protect and enhance Auckland's natural heritage.

"The ARC, with the help of volunteers, has planted an estimated two million trees in the Auckland region over the past 20 years," Cr Burrill says. "In areas like Wenderholm Regional Park that has led to reforestation and a thriving native bird population. It has also led to the protection and enhancement of stream and lake areas and the prevention of erosion on private and public land.

"Now we want to encourage Aucklanders to plant natives in their own back yards and enjoy the benefits they bring."

Cr Burrill says native plants can add aesthetic appeal to any garden, provide privacy, shade and attract native birds such as the tui, pipiwharauroa (shining cuckoo), kereru (native woodpigeon) and piwakawaka (fantail).

Auckland Regional Botanic Gardens manager Jack Hobbs says New Zealand native plants have long been considered high status plants in vogue for gardens overseas.

"Cabbage trees are so popular in the United Kingdom that they have become known as Torquay Palms, while Hebes are so popular that the Brits have set up a Hebe society, " Mr Hobbs says.

"New Zealand natives are amongst the most esteemed plants around the world because they are unique."

The ARC's native plant giveaway at Botany Town Centre is open to all comers on a first in, first served basis.

As well as 500 native plants, there are also Kings Plant Barn discount vouchers to give away.

For more information on planting native trees and volunteer planting days on regional parks visit www.arc.govt.nz. For details of volunteer planting days at Manukau City parks visit www.manukau.govt.nz.


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