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Meridian to Sponsor Project Crimson

18 October 2006

Meridian assumes principal sponsorship of conservation icon Project Crimson

In what could be seen as a case of life imitating art, state-owned electricity generator and retailer Meridian Energy has become the major sponsor of Project Crimson.

Project Crimson was established 16 years ago to preserve and protect New Zealand's native crimson flower-bearing trees the pohutukawa and rata.

A southern rata flower stars in the high-profile television advertising campaign launched by Meridian last year to highlight the role of renewable hydro-electricity in the country's electricity supply system.

Chief Executive Keith Turner says the company has been looking for a strong environmental sponsorship, and given the success of the advertising campaign, Project Crimson was an obvious choice.

"Many companies make use of this country's wonderful natural features in their visual imagery, and it seems only fair that we should give something in return for the use that we have made of this particular New Zealand icon.

"Project Crimson has achieved outstanding success in ensuring that our unique red-flowering pohutukawa and rata continue to flourish on our coasts and in our forests, but there is an ongoing task in ensuring the survival of these wonderful trees that hold such a special place in the hearts of millions of New Zealanders.

"Meridian will be proud to be a major supporter in that effort."

Welcoming the partnership with Meridian, Project Crimson Trust Chairman Devon McLean said "Project Crimson has been very successful both in protecting a species at risk and raising New Zealander's awareness of the trees' environmental and cultural value.

"We are very excited about the future with Meridian Energy. They are a company that understands the uniqueness of New Zealand's natural heritage and its significance to all New Zealanders."

"Thanks to Meridian Energy, our work will continue around New Zealand building on the foundation created over the last 16 years."

Project Crimson's goals are to:

* Support community and iwi pohutukawa and rata initiatives in medium to high-need areas

* Partner major replenishment projects in high-need areas that have capacity for high impact in NZ and overseas

* Build eco-sourced stock in high-need areas

* Raise awareness of and desire for action on tree protection and conservation generally amongst New Zealanders

Meridian took over as major sponsor of Project Crimson on 2 October 2006

ENDS

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