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Crusaders Players Give Native Rata A Kick-Start

Crusaders Players Give Native Rata A Kick-Start

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Thursday 1 May 2008

Five players from the Crusaders Super 14 team have put some muscle into the campaign to get New Zealand’s stunning crimson-flowering natives thriving. George Whitelock, Scott Hamilton, Kade Poki, Casey Laulala and Ti'i Paulo teamed up with staff and representatives from Project Crimson, its major sponsor Meridian, and the Christchurch City Council to plant 50 rata trees at Hansen Park in Opawa, Christchurch.

Bridget Abernethy, Project Crimson Executive Director, says it was great to have the support of the players.

“It’s great to have sports stars take such an interest in looking after their natural environment. We really appreciate the players time and effort from and Meridian who have been instrumental in giving southern rata a kick-start in this region,” she says.

“Southern rata are a hidden treasure in Canterbury. They do exist in large numbers, but they tend to thrive in awkward places like craggy river valleys. The work of the Crusaders will help bring rata to centre stage in the region and will ensure they can be easily seen and enjoyed by local people as well as visitors to the region.” Currently, the seedlings are around 60cm tall but in time they can be expected to grow to more than 20 metres high.

“It will take around five years before we see the trees starting to flower. It will take another ten years or so for the trees to become well established,” she added. Meridian Sponsorship Manager Mel Seyfort says sponsoring Project Crimson is a natural fit for Meridian.

“As a 100 per cent New Zealand owned company with a commitment to renewable energy and environmental sustainability, what could be more appropriate than helping to ensure these iconic native trees flourish in Christchurch, which is well known for its parks and gardens.

“The work that Project Crimson does is invaluable and the results of its effort with this project will have long lasting benefits for locals and visitors to enjoy,” she added. Project Crimson is a national conservation trust established in 1990 to protect pohutakawa and rata trees around New Zealand by raising awareness of tree protection and supporting restoration programmes.

Crimson Trails have been established in Auckland, Rotorua, Mt Maunganui, Coromandel, Wellington, Golden Bay, Otago/Southland, the West Coast and most recently in Canterbury.


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