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Marion Hobbs Arbor Day Speech

Hon Marion Hobbs Speech Notes

Arbor Day, Town Belt land, Melrose, Tuesday June 5 12.30pm

- New Zealanders are passionate about their environment and the role nature can play in our lives - we see this in gardening and recreation, and we see it in wider support and appreciation of our native bush.

- New Zealanders care a great deal about their native species and we value our native forests. Growing native trees through revegetation programmes can have a great impact on the local biodiversity. It is no secret that the presence of native habitat encourages the animals to move in. The birds are the most conspicuous inhabitants of the bush, and you probably hear them before you see them. But lizards, moths, spiders and a whole range of other animals will live here. In Wellington we are particularly fortunate to have this town belt of native bush right in our back yards, where we can see it and walk through it every day.

- Many of the saplings that are planted today will grow and we will see them mature into adult trees. It will take a long time, so it is important to not expect overnight results. If the plants are nurtured and we keep an eye on pests and weeds, then the young people that are here today will be able to visit this place as adults and see the fruits of their labours.

- Some of the trees that are planted today may not survive, despite our best efforts. Many revegetation programmes experience the occasional setback. It is important to not be discouraged if this happens. Even though we can choose species that should be suited to an area, specific local soil conditions or unpredictable weather such as this year's drought can conspire against us. What’s important is that we learn from any die back, and adjust the programme to reflect the local conditions.

- I know that it takes considerable effort and resources to sustain restoration programmes. I congratulate you all on giving up your time today. Protecting our native plants and animals requires people taking action. There is no one group that can do it alone. It is encouraging to see the council and community working together on this project.

- It is important that we look after native bush and the animals that live in it. Planting trees is an excellent first step. I’m confident that by next Arbor Day we’ll have taken further significant steps towards protecting biodiversity in New Zealand.


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