Thursday June 21, 2018
Officials gather to plant totara in honour of veterans
inbrief news Create resilience by buying chocolate Wellington’s community foundation is behind a campaign to build a pot of funds for building community resilience, with the public asked to buy chocolate. Nikau Foundation’s Pledge Me campaign kicks off this week with a goal to raise at least $20,000 for their new Wellington Resilience Fund from the sale of the Wellington Resilience Bar. A proportion of each sale goes directly into the Wellington Resilience Fund. Donations and orders for the Wellington Resilience Bar can be made at either the Pledge Me or Nikau Foundation websites or by phone on 0800 986 7443.
China Research Centre counters sensationalism
Damian Diack of MPI, Karen Adair of MCH, Julie Collins of Forestry NZ, Wing Comander Neil Taylor of the NZDF, Jack Steer chief executive of the RNZRSA, Associate Minister of Forestry Meka Whaitiri and MPI director-general Martyn Dunne. PHOTO: Jamie Adams By Jamie Adams
A reserve between Russell Terrace and Newtown Park is set to be transformed over the coming decades following a tree-planting ceremony to recognise war veterans. Associate Forestry Minister Meka Whaitiri, Rongotai MP Paul Eagle, Wellington Mayor Justin Lester and RSA chief executive Jack Steer joined officials from the Ministries of Primary Industries and Culture and Heritage, as well as the New Zealand Defence Force, in planting 40 totara at the Berhampore reserve on Friday. They were the first trees to be planted as part of the Gov-
ernment’s Matariki Tu Rakau remembrance tree planting programme announced on Anzac Day. The nationwide programme involves communities across the country planting up to 350,000 trees during Matariki in recognition of those who have served in the defence forces. It is part of a series of initiatives to mark the 100-year anniversary of the end of the First World War. Meka says the event served as an opportunity to plant natives as part of the programme, given the majority at this stage are exotic pines. “Only 13 percent of New Zealand trees are native. I’m keen to
get the balance to 50/50.” Mayor Justin Lester says Wellington City has already seen 1.6 million trees planted over the past 15 years and he expects that number to reach two million by 2022. MPI Director General Matryn Dunne says many battlefields had left a trail of destruction of “shredded trees” as well as death. He says it is appropriate totara were chosen to symbolise their regeneration as they are “truly remarkable trees”. RNZRSA chief executive Jack Steer says the trees should symbolise “everyday men and women sign up to go into harm’s way” who then may feel re-
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luctant to be recognised as veterans. “Veterans compare themselves to those who served in World War One and Two and feel they don’t measure up. “This is a very important event for veterans and our city.” Planting of the trees will occur over the month of Matariki, and will be carried out on various types of land, such as marae, public parks, and places of remembrance. A spokeswoman for the Council says the current pine trees will be cut down within 20 years as they near the end of their lifespan, to allow for a smooth transition for the totara takeover.
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“Sensationalist” claims about extensive Chinese influence in New Zealand highlight the importance of the knowledge and understanding Wellington’s Contemporary China Research Centre brings to public debate, says the centre’s new director. The claims, including that New Zealand has become the “soft underbelly” of the Five Eyes international intelligence network, are overblown and do a disservice to the much more complex reality of the New Zealand-China relationship, says Victoria University Associate Professor Jason Young. “If we don’t understand China then we disadvantage ourselves within the region and within our relationship with China,” he says.
Seatoun Tunnel to close for weekend Seatoun Tunnel will be closed from midnight on Sunday 24 June until 5am Monday 25 June to remove the trolley bus overhead wires. A traffic management plan is in place, so please follow directions.
SIMON ‘SWAMPY’ MARSH Your Eastern Ward City Councillor
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Cook Strait News 21-06-18