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Project Crimson success gives confidence

Media Statement

Minister says Project Crimson success gives confidence we can halt biodiversity decline


Conservation Minister Sandra Lee has praised the Project Crimson trust which at an Auckland function tonight marked 10-years of community volunteer-based activity to restore the pohutukawa, New Zealand's Christmas tree.

"I congratulate Project Crimson for planting out more than 200,000 pohutukawa and rata since its launch in 1990," Ms Lee said. "We have set an ambitious goal to halt the decline in our indigenous ecosystems through the New Zealand Biodiversity Strategy, but successes like Project Crimson's work with pohutukawa give us confidence."

She said a 1989 report commissioned for the Department of Conservation had found that—in Northland for example—an estimated 90-percent of the original pohutukawa trees had died since European settlement, while the rest were in a poor condition.

"A recent assessment by Project Crimson into the health of the pohutukawa after 10 years of community volunteer-based conservation programmes has shown a terrific turnabout," said Ms Lee. "The impact of possum predation has dropped dramatically while there has been a significant increase in foreshore protection and restoration plantings."

She said in Northland where the pohutukawa had suffered the most, regeneration had increased tenfold, and nearly as much in other former high risk areas such as Coromandel, the Bay of Plenty-East Cape, and on Northland's west coast.

"Fundamental to this success has been Project Crimson's focus on community volunteer involvement in local projects, and educational and awareness-raising initiatives," Ms Lee said.

"Carter Holt Harvey's sponsorship support for Project Crimson has made a real difference to the survival of pohutukawa and rata," she said. "They, along with the Bank of New Zealand's similar support for the Kiwi Recovery Programme provide a model for how our corporates can play a positive part in securing our natural heritage for future generations."

Media Contact
Debbie Teale, Executive Director, Project Crimson, 09 480 8864 or
025 246 3600

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