New Zealand Wants People To Turn 2020 Disappointments Into Trees
New Zealand wants people to turn their 2020 disappointments into trees in the ‘Forest of Hope’.
Thanks to the stringent efforts of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s administration and compliance from the country’s citizens, New Zealand’s COVID-19 response has been one of the rare success stories of the current pandemic.
Across the entirety of this year, the country has seen 2,069 confirmed cases of the virus and 25 deaths, standing in stark comparison to the likes of the US and UK. However, even with lower statistics, there’s a new campaign to begin 2021 with a ‘dose of positivity’.
Tourism New Zealand and nonprofit organisation Trees That Count have collaborated on promoting the Forest of Hope, looking to plant seedlings on both of the country’s islands, in parts of Northland and Queenstown.
Sarah Handley, general manager for Americas and Europe on the tourism board, said the forest reflects the Te Reo Māori values of manaaki and tiaki, Forbes reports. In a statement, she explained, ‘Manaaki speaks to the importance of having empathy and tiaki inspires us to care for people and place’.
While our borders remain closed to international visitors, we wanted to extend a little manaaki and encourage a sense of tiaki to those who are in need of some optimism for the new year. With trees as a natural symbol of life and growth, the Forest of Hope is a way for people to say goodbye to this year’s disappointments and plant a seed of hope to look forward to better times ahead in 2021.
If you’re interested, you can share your disappointment from this year online via the New Zealand website. From there, you can visit the Trees That Count website, where you’re able to pay for a native tree (considered to be a major tool in fighting climate change) to be planted in the new forest, alongside a personal message.
Handley added: ‘This initiative is really about turning this year’s disappointments into hope, and we all know there have been countless disappointments. It’s going to be amazing to see just how large of a forest we can create together.’
The charity writes: ‘It’s been a year. A tough year. 2020 has seen cancelled vacations, postponed weddings, and missed celebrations… right now, we can’t share our beautiful country as we normally would, but we can still add to its beauty, and the health of the environment. Once we’re able to welcome visitors again you can visit your tree, that you helped grow.’
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