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The Day Of Tanemahuta Gains Momentum

Te Ra O Tanemahuta - The Day Of Tanemahuta Gains Momentum

The concept of a national day celebrating conservation and caring for our natural heritage is gaining momentum, National's Georgina te Heuheu said today.

"Over the last two years I have suggested that Arbor Day be renamed Te Ra o Tanemahuta - the Day of Tanemahuta, and the focus changed from one of consumption and replanting, to one of conservation and caring for our shared natural heritage.

"The response from New Zealanders from all walks of life has been heartening. The Auckland Regional Council last year voted unanimously to adopt Te Ra o Tanemahuta - the Day of Tanemahuta. Mrs te Heuheu said that some people had reservations about losing Arbor Day, while others were so enthused by the concept of Te Ra o Tanemahuta they suggested it deserved a day of its own. "I tend to agree," she said.

"The Far North District Council for example have taken up the challenge and will be celebrating Te Ra o Tanemahuta on 20 July this year.

"The Council will be sending 70 Kauri trees, one to each school in the Far North, for planting. I want to congratulate them for their vision. I think it is wonderful."

Capturing the imagination of young New Zealanders

Mrs te Heuheu said it made sense to find a suitable and meaningful day on which to celebrate Te Ra o Tanemahuta, to capture the imagination of young New Zealanders as the future stewards of our natural heritage.

"We need to think about caring for our forests as well as replanting. We also need to celebrate those things that help us forge our unique identity as New Zealanders and bring us closer together.

"Just as our trees grow together our children must go forward together to a shared future. The conservation and restoration of our native forests is important for all New Zealanders," she said.

Working together

Since last year Mrs te Heuheu has been working with a number of interests, including the Royal Forest & Bird Protection Society of New Zealand to find a day that best enhances the meaning and significance of the concept of Te Ra o Tanemahuta, as a day of national celebration, with the intention that the first such national day occur in 2002.

On 5 June Mrs te Heuheu will be attending an Arbor day planting at the Ambury Regional Park in Auckland organised by the Auckland Regional Council, and involving the local Waterlea Primary School.


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