Kiwi communities join former All Blacks to plant 170,000 trees

Rugby and tree planting may seem an unlikely combination, but over the past three years they have come together in a spectacular way: the Living Legends project. 17 “Rugby Legends” including Sir Colin Meads, Sir Brian Lochore and Todd Blackadder have joined over 8,000 New Zealanders to plant 170,000 native trees throughout New Zealand.

Living Legends was established in 2011 to commemorate the Rugby World Cup. Across the country, 17 native planting sites were identified, each dedicated to a local Rugby Legend who was nominated by their rugby union. Sir Colin Meads says “The completion of the Living Legends project was a mighty effort and it has been a privilege for me to be part of such a worthy project.”

2013 was the final year of public planting events for Living Legends held around New Zealand in August and September. Project Manager for Living Legends, Devon McLean says “We’re thrilled with the support from our Rugby Legends and the local communities who have been actively involved in Living Legends planting days. Reaching the end of the project and planting 170,000 trees across the 17 sites is a huge achievement. A project of this scale will benefit New Zealanders for years to come. These plantings will enhance some of our most special parks and reserves all around New Zealand, each site chosen in conjunction with the Department of Conservation for its significant ecological value. These are places where we reflect, refresh and can escape the hustle and bustle of our daily lives. We’re very proud of our commitment to helping to restore New Zealand’s bio-diversity with our Rugby Legends.”

Living Legends will continue to manage each of the 17 planting sites for the next two years before they are officially handed over to the Department of Conservation, or in some regions, the local Council.

Living Legends is a joint venture of Project Crimson, a conservation charity with 23 years experience in community-based native restoration projects and The Tindall Foundation. Major sponsors are the Department of Conservation and Meridian Energy.



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