TreeFund: How Honda New Zealand is being very green
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Plant a tree: it’s often said metaphorically, meaning do a little something to help the environment as you go about your business.
But Honda New Zealand has literally been planting trees since 2004, as part of its TreeFund programme. For each new vehicle purchase in NZ, the company either donates trees on behalf of new owners or funds for the same, resulting in over 700,000 new trees to date.
Prior to 2014, Treefund contributions went to local councils. But in recent years Honda has become even more involved, in partnership with conservation company Trees That Count.
Notwithstanding the interruption of Covid-19, there are regular planting days for Honda staff and customers, usually May-September. These often cover bushwalks and riverbank restorations.
But Treefund has also contributed to a number of major programmes in recent years.
One of the most significant has been in Kaiapoi, an area hit hard by the Canterbury earthquakes a decade ago. A region now known as the Regeneration Kaiapoi East Area was formerly the site of more than 700 households, but was red-zoned after the earthquakes.
The regeneration is a project of the Waimakariri District Council that includes walkways, a pond and even a BMX track designed by Olympian Trent Jones. There are also sports grounds planned.
Honda’s involvement brings 15,500 trees to the project, which are being planted over the next few years as the council builds up an ecosystem. It’s significant enough for the brand to have been given naming rights: it’s officially the Honda Forest.
Other major projects include the Atiu Creek Regional Park in the Kaipara Harbour, near Auckland. The park has extensive harbour frontage and is home to threatened species such as the NZ dabchick and brown teal ducks.
Kelly’s Bush is a unique area that contains areas of bush that date back to pre-European times – yet it’s still within the city boundaries. At last count there were 73 different species of native trees growing in the area: Treefund has been protecting and enhancing the Bush, with 500 trees planted by local Honda staff.
It’s not all country life: the Mount Victoria Town Belt project aims to create a “forest in the heart of Wellington”, with Wellington City Council, Rotary and Conservation volunteers aiming to plant 100,000 native trees. The forest will encourage native birds to stay within the city.
Treefund has also contributed to planting along the Omaru Stream in Glen Innes, Auckland. Over 1500 trees have been planted along the waterway to create a better environment for fish, insects, lizards and bird. And people of course.