We work with organisations, schools, iwi, communities and individuals throughout New Zealand through our restoration and environmental education programmes, and we advocate for our hero species pōhutukawa and rātā.
It seems hard to believe now, but in 1990 the future of pōhutukawa was uncertain. Project Crimson was established to protect and restore these beloved trees to New Zealand’s forests and coastlines.
Led by a bunch of enthusiastic and committed volunteers, Project Crimson initially set out to replant areas of the Northland coastline with pōhutukawa. Such was the success of that initial work, our mandate broadened to a national focus, to include rātā, and now to champion the planting of all native tree species.
Project Crimson has played a major role in turning around the health of the metrosideros species, but our beloved pōhutukawa and northern and southern rātā remain under threat today from myrtle rust and the ongoing impact from possums. Work also remains to be done to restore the Bartlett’s rātā species, with very few adult trees known to be in survival.
Through our programme Trees That Count, we’ve committed to helping Kiwis plant millions more native trees, of all species, as a way to fight climate change, strengthen ecosystems and grow healthier communities everywhere.
New Zealanders actively connected to nature and contributing to healthy and sustainable ecosystems
The initiative for Project Crimson grew out of a Forest Research Institute investigation (1989) into the health of pohutukawa. Scientists discovered that more than 90% of coastal pohutukawa stands had been eliminated. The tree had entirely disappeared in many areas along the west coast of Northland.
Disturbed by these findings, staff from Northland Department of Conservation, supported by New Zealand Forest Products (now Carter Holt Harvey), came up with the idea of creating a community-based project to help pohutukawa. In 1990 the Project Crimson Trust came to life.
Initially focused on the pohutukawa, because this species was considered to be significantly endangered, the Trust extended its mandate in 1996 to include the pohutukawa’s cousin – the rata.
While there are a number of different species of trees in the genus Metrosideros, to which pohutukawa and rata belong, Project Crimson focuses only on the mainland pohutukawa, and three tree rata: northern, southern, and Bartlett’s – these species are considered to be the most threatened among Metrosideros.
Much of Project Crimson’s stock was originally raised in prison nurseries. This partnership provided sound horticultural training for inmates while Project Crimson supplied community groups, schools and councils with a guaranteed stock of quality, ecologically-sourced trees.
Project Crimson’s work has captured the hearts of thousands of New Zealanders who have given their time and energy to hundreds of community and school projects to help this national icon.
In 2011 Project Crimson partnered with The Tindall Foundation to deliver Living Legends, our conservation project which saw 170,000 natives planted to celebrate New Zealand’s hosting of the Rugby World Cup.
The Tindall Foundation has been a wonderful supporter of Project Crimson, and we’re thrilled to be working with them again on Trees That Count, a major initiative to plant native trees to mitigate climate change.
Sir Stephen Tindall was the initiator of the Trees That Count programme, which aims to oversee the planting of millions of native trees throughout New Zealand, and Stephen and The Tindall Foundation have provided significant financial and in-kind support to Project Crimson.
Ka huihui tātou ki te whakatō i ngā rākau kotahi piriona.
Together we will plant one billion trees.
Trees That Count and Te Uru Rākau have partnered through the One Billion Trees Programme to significantly scale up our efforts.
We’re tremendously grateful for this support which is enabling us to build our movement to attract funding and public participation with Trees That Count. Specific effort is also being made in the regions with regional advisors employed to train and connect land owners, tree funders and planting groups. This is an investment in scaling up a charity that can engage and unite all New Zealanders to plant millions more native trees.
Te Uru Rākau is the central government organisation focused on supporting the planting of exotic and indigenous forests, sustainable forestry management, programmes like the Emissions Trading Scheme, and forestry grants. The Government has set a goal to plant one billion trees by 2028 and the One Billion Trees Programme will deliver improved social, environmental, and economic outcomes for New Zealand.
A car company and environmental charity don’t seem the most natural of partners: but Mazda New Zealand has environmental good at the heart of its values. Since 2004, they’ve worked with Project Crimson to generate good outcomes for native planting and local communities.
In 2007, the Mazda Foundation approached Project Crimson searching for just the right project: a hybrid of successful environmental education and meaningful engagement with local communities. Meanwhile, Project Crimson was looking to meet ever-increasing demand for environmental education programmes and needed funding to deliver – the TREEmendous programme was born and delivered for in partnership for 15 years.
A new era: Trees That Count
With the Trees That Count online native tree marketplace launching in 2018, Mazda was one of the first major funders to come aboard, and that role continues each year. In addition to their significant funding of native trees, Mazda provides the Trust has two hardworking vehicles which are prominently adorned with our illustration.
Frequently loaded with trees and equipment for community planting events, they are a roving billboard spreading awareness of Trees That Count and give us the opportunity to travel to some remote and very special parts of the country.
Project Crimson and the Department of Conservation (DOC) have been inextricably linked since the Trust started in 1990. The combination of DOC’s vast knowledge in the area of conservation and their regional network of area offices, visitor information centres and field staff, have meant a strong and enduring partnership.
The Department of Conservation is the central government organisation charged with conserving the natural and historic heritage of New Zealand on behalf of and for the benefit of present and future New Zealanders.