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20 years of spreading the red

20 years of spreading the red - great for biodiversity

The Project Crimson Trust is celebrating 20 years of planting pohutukawa and rata in New Zealand this World Environment Day, Saturday 5 June.

After finding that pohutukawa was in serious decline (1990), the Trust has overseen 400,000 trees planted by kiwis throughout New Zealand.

Department of Conservation Director-General Al Morrison is thrilled with what the Trust has accomplished.

“DOC has been working alongside Project Crimson for 20 years and is proud of the partnership.”

“Project Crimson’s model of working at a community level to energise people around the protection of key native ecosystems has been both enduring and has set a great example for conservation organisations to follow,” Al Morrison said.

Project Crimson Trustee, Ruud Kleinpaste (the Bugman) says when we loose native trees, we risk our unique biodiversity. He says our native bees in particular like the pohutukawa.

These bees often live in clayey soil, as they can make their burrows in this soil type.

“The birds and the bees really do make the world go round in New Zealand and the more native plants we have, the better life in paradise will be,” Ruud Kleinplaste said.

“The ecological value of those little black native bees is priceless. They buzz around the flowers and pollinate a whole range of other flowers as well. Their relatives, the honey bee, also utilises pohutukawa nectar and turns it into luscious honey with a nice butterscotch flavour. The more pohutukawa we have, the more honey ther is in the pot.

“The kaka, bellbird and tui feed on the copious amounts of nectar produced from the flowers. The carbohydrates from the nectar fattens up the birds before winter when the weather turns bad. In spring they will be in great condition to commence nesting and egg-laying.”

Bats are known to use hollow Metrosideros trees (Rata) as roosting sites and whole plant communities (epiphytes) are perched on the branches of large pohutukawa and rata. These trees play an important role in the ecological fabric of Nature.

“Twenty years on, we thank all the kiwis that have helped make new homes for the birds and bees and given new life to pohutukawa and rata,” Ruud Kleinpaste said.

The Project Crimson Trusts’ principal sponsor is Meridian Energy.


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