Monday, 20 May 2019

WHITIANGA WEATHER

World War I memorial forests project launched

World War I memorial forests project launched

A  World War I Memorial Forest will be created on the Coromandel to commemorate all New Zealand soldiers who died in the Great War.

The project, which will commence on ANZAC Day 2015, will see a total of 18,166 trees planted at a series of different sites around the Peninsula. According to Thames Coromandel District Council the trees are designed to become memorial forests which will enhance environmental values and also act as a place for people to walk and remember New Zealand history.

Each forest will commemorate a different battle or campaign during the war and it is proposed that initially five forests will be planted - one in each Community Board area. As more sites become available, additional forests will be added to reach the 18,166 number of trees.

TCDC mayor Glenn Leach says that he is excited about the project, which will provide a living, growing memorial for the sacrifice of the fallen soldiers in World War I. "We believe this is a special project which will create a series of memorial forests of national significance that is relevant to all New Zealanders, not just locals," he says.  "We are looking to commemorate the major battles such as Gallipoli, the Somme and Passchendaele, as well as smaller conflicts like Le Quesnoy or the Palestine campaign as we build towards the 18,000 tree total over the next three years.

"Our intention is to commence the planting project on 25 April 2015 and then to involve community groups and schools in the planting and care for the forests. One of the goals of planting these sites is to provide a series of forests which provide environmental education for schoolchildren, a focal point for community involvement and places of environmental sustainability for future generations.

"In addition to planting and tending the trees, I would like to see schoolchildren involved in things like graphic design for the Great War interpretative history signboards, or linking to the curriculum studies that teach about each of the battles. We need the next generation to understand the past, so that we learn about our heritage." 

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The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.