Volunteers complete major conservation initiative for Hawke’s Bay Rugby Legend

On Saturday 17 August, 170 volunteers donned their gumboots to plant 3,000 native trees and shrubs at Napier’s Ahuriri Estuary.

This staggering achievement was part of the Living Legends project.  Living Legends is completing 14 regional projects during August, to reach a target of planting a total of 170,000 native trees throughout New Zealand.  The work follows on from 2011 when Living Legends was established to leave a legacy of New Zealand’s hosting of Rugby World Cup.

Each region’s planting project is dedicated to a local “Rugby Legend”.  Ian MacRae was selected by Hawke’s Bay Rugby Union as the Hawke’s Bay Rugby Legend in 2011.

Unfortunately Ian, President of NZRU, could not attend the event this year as he was in Sydney with the All Blacks but kicked off the weekend’s planting event by planting a tree at the Estuary before he departed on Friday morning.  Ian said “Living Legends is a fantastic project that has brought together rugby and conservation.  It has been an absolute privilege to be selected as the local Rugby Legend and to contribute to a project that will make a difference to New Zealand for generations to come.”

Devon McLean, Project Manager for Living Legends, adds “Ian has been a wonderful local ambassador for the Living Legends project, and has gone out of his way to support us, he is a true legend of rugby in New Zealand.”

Ahuriri Estuary is an extensive estuary which is home to a wide diversity of shore birds.  With the formation of cycling and walking tracks it is becoming increasingly used for recreation. The Living Legends project has established over 10,000 plants in two areas providing security and habitat for wading birds along the farmland edge and re-vegetating the railway embankment.  Maintenance of the plantings that have been completed by Living Legends will now be handed over to the Department of Conservation.

Living Legends is a joint venture of Project Crimson, an environmental 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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