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Published: 2015-02-27 00:00:00

A Coromandel project involving tree planting to honour New Zealand’s World War One dead is to be supported by a $40,000 grant from Waikato Regional Council’s environmental initiatives fund.

The money will be used to pay for the purchasing, planting and maintenance of 1750 trees out of the 18,166 that are intended to be planted as a symbol of each kiwi fatality in the war. The 1750 trees will be at five sites in Thames, Cathedral Cove, Whangamata and Coromandel.

The $40,000 grant to Thames-Coromandel District Council to support the multi-agency Te Wao Whakamaumaharatanga (Forest of Memories) project was agreed by the finance committee at its meeting this week.

Initial plantings for the project are due on Anzac Day to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landings.

A report to the committee said, besides acting as a memorial, the tree-planting across the area would benefit the Coromandel environment by creating forests.

“The intention is to plant native trees at each of the sites, with different species planted in clusters depending on the suitability of the soil and conditions.”

Meanwhile, the committee also agreed to $40,000 for the New Zealand Landcare Trust to assist with predator control near a pest-free fenced bird sanctuary at Lake Rotopiko near Ohaupo and to establish a catchment care group.

The NZ Landcare Trust has been working with the National Wetland Trust (NWT) to establish a national wetland centre in the area. NWT has built a pest fence around 10 hectares. The Landcare Trust applied for the $40,000 to help control pests in a 30 hectare area of adjoining reserve land.

“This work will contribute to a boost in wildlife values in a 30 hectare area of one of the best peat lake complexes in New Zealand,” said the report to the committee.

A third grant of $16,000 was agreed for Waikato District Council so that it could purchase beetles aimed at dealing with the pest plant Tradescantia (commonly known as wandering jew or wandering willy) at Waingaro Bush Reserve in Raglan.

The reserve, which has high ecological values, has become infested with the weed in recent years. It can be very difficult to control but it is hoped the purchase of the beetles which eat the plant will help deal to the infestation.