Community & Environment

Arbor Day a chance to get out of the office

Pick up a spade for the annual Arbor Day planting at Waiwhakareke Natural Heritage Park.

Arbor Day at the Waiwhakareke ecological restoration project – on the city’s western outskirts near Hamilton Zoo – is an annual event for our Parks and Recreation Unit, and will be held this year on Friday 31 May.

Gerard Kelly, our Community Planting Co-ordinator, has overseen the event for more than a decade and is urging Hamilton’s business community to get alongside school classes and volunteers for a day of planting.

“We enjoy some great Arbor Day support from schools and voluntary and charity groups, and this year we’re putting some emphasis into encouraging the business community to join us,” Mr Kelly says.

“Arbor Day is a great team-building opportunity for businesses and managers – it’s an activity which gets staff out of their usual workplace environments, doing a little bit of physical work in the fresh air at one of Hamilton’s most picturesque locations.”

Mr Kelly says various businesses have brought staff to Arbor Day in the past and the feedback has always been very positive. Team building like Arbor Day planting can contribute to an organisation’s corporate and social responsibilities, develop a sense of achievement within a team and also get staff engaged with their community.

“A small group of staff working together at Arbor Day can make a big difference to team culture and people’s sense of community and professional pride,” he says.

More than 10,000 plants are planted during Arbor Day, and Mr Kelly says the focus goes on the quality of planting rather than the volume of specimens planted. He stresses Arbor Day is not a race to plant as many specimens as possible – it’s about ensuring plants are in the ground properly so they thrive and last for generations.

Participants are urged to wear warm clothing and gumboots, and come prepared with a planting spade (not a shovel), a bottle of water and plenty of energy.

In the event of a MetService severe weather warning, the event will be postponed to Friday 7 June.

Anyone who wishes to volunteer for planting on Arbor Day can email parksopenspaces@hcc.govt.nz to register their interest. Groups registering are asked to indicate how many people will be participating.

Arbor Day 2019 is delivered by Hamilton City Council with the funding support of Waikato Regional Council’s Natural Heritage Fund ($88,695) and Waikato Catchment Ecological Enhancement Trust ($20,000).  Those organisations’ funding goes toward the purchase of 12,000 eco-sourced native plants specific for Arbor Day.

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