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Planting of champion redwood in Whakarewarewa Forest

The Tree Lab managing director Dr Jenny Aitken and Ngati Whakaue kaumatua Phillip Mutu at today’s planting.

News Release
Monday 2 September 2013

Planting of champion redwood in Whakarewarewa Forest today

ROTORUA 02.09.13: Rotorua District Council hosted The Tree Lab team on behalf of the non-profit Archangel Ancient Tree Archive today as they planted giant redwood seedlings in the Whakarewarewa Forest.

The Archangel project’s mission is to propagate champion trees of the world before they are gone - the largest and hardiest species that will grow to more than 500 years - and create a ‘Noah’s Ark’ of tree genetics. The team has successfully propagated some the world’s oldest trees, including giant redwoods and sequoias.

RDC Redwoods Forest & Visitor Centre manager Julianne Wilkinson said today’s event was the first planting of a champion redwood in the southern hemisphere, and was a great way to lead into Conservation Week activities beginning 8 September.

“When I was approached by Jenny Aitken from local business The Tree Lab and asked if Council would support the Archangel Project by providing space to plant a few giant redwoods, I thought why not?

“Instead of using a seed, a cutting is taken from the tree, tissue cultured, and then planted. As I’ve learnt more about the project I’ve become intrigued and more supportive of this fantastic initiative - it really makes sense. By planting a few of the world’s champion tree species we can help in a small way to restore the health of our planet.”

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Mrs Wilkinson said if more organisations around New Zealand joined together to support the Archangel Project, it will help create a living DNA library of trees that have survived for hundreds of years.

“This will grow to help address current issues like biodiversity and climatic events. It’s a world-leading project and with old stands of giant redwoods currently under threat by forest fires in America, this project has now become all the more important.”

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