Growing our future – Tree planting

The amazing Hikurangi Primary School kids and a very supportive and encouraging staff planted almost 1,000 native trees alongside a stream at their school. Return to Sender Caskets and Morris & Morris Funerals were honoured to be able to volunteer our muscles for the day.

The senior girl class of Hikurangi Primary School, have been tenderly growing native seedlings during the year.  Once ready to be planted the girls shared the experience with every class and also Return to Sender and Morris & Morris Funerals.

Wednesday, July 3rd, we brave the threatening weather, donned our gumboots and together we planted nearly 1,000 native trees alongside a stream at Hikurangi Primary School.

Return to Sender has been donating a tree for each casket sold since 2007 as of 31 July 2019 we have donated 12,861 trees.  A couple of years ago, we realised anyone could plant a tree – but wondered what did that actually achieve? Nothing if we aren’t educating the future caretakers of our land.  In 2017 we officially partnered with ‘Trees for Survival’.

Trees for Survival is a charitable trust that delivers an educational environmental programme in schools. It sees students growing and planting native trees to restore natural habitats by helping landowners revegetate erosion-prone land, improve streamflow and water quality and increase biodiversity.

Once a month we donate money towards trees to the Trees for Surivial on behalf of the families who have chosen a Return to Sender casket.   One casket = 1 tree donation.

The students involved in the Trees for Survival environmental education programme receive locally sourced seedlings at the beginning of every year, nurturing them until ready for plantingPlanting days will consist of many different native plants; including Mānuka, kānuka, flax, tī kōuka (cabbage tree ) that are suitable for the area that they will be planted.

Return to Sender Caskets supports schools in Whangarei, Auckland, Waikato, Bay of Plenty and Wellington.  Funeral Homes are invited to volunteer with us on planting days within their local areas.

Tī kōuka / cabbage tree is good colonising species, growing happily on bare ground or exposed places.   Their strong root system helps stop soil erosion on steep slopes and because they tolerate wet soil, they are a useful species for planting along stream banks. The trees were also planted to mark trails, boundaries, urupā (cemeteries) and births since they are generally long-lived

Fun fact: early settlers use to brew beer from the root.

Mānuka & kānuka these plants can act as an important tool for re-vegetating bare, eroded slopes. By creating shade and shelter from the wind, they provide an excellent nursery for other, slower growing native plants. Unlike many other native plants, mānuka/kahikātoa and kānuka are not usually eaten by browsing animals like sheep, cattle, and goats. This is another reason that these plants are useful in restoration projects.

Fun fact:  Twigs from this plant with rimu were brewed to make beer.

Harakeke/flax bushes will often support a large community of animals, providing shelter and an abundant food resource.  Harakeke attracts native birds such as Tui, bellbirds/ korimako, saddlebacks/tīeke, short-tailed bats/pekapeka, geckos and several types of insects that enjoy nectar from its flower.

Fun fact: Even though we call it flax, the Harakeke is actually a lily.
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