When the sun rises on the New Year, New Zealand’s location on the globe makes it the first country in the world to welcome 2021.
To get next year started on the right foot for the whole planet, Tourism New Zealand is launching a holiday initiative that generates hope, turns the disappointments of this year into something positive, and launches on Giving Tuesday, December 1st.
For the month of December, Tourism New Zealand will be planting a ‘Forest of Hope’ for 2021.
2020 has been a tough year, with cancellations, postponements, missed travels and weddings, graduations, birthdays and celebrations.
People from all over the world can submit their disappointments from the past year and New Zealand will transform them into hope, planting a native Kiwi tree for every entry.
The program is based on trees as Nature’s symbol of life and growth. New Zealand’s famously green islands are over 30% forest – that’s more than 8 million hectares of wooded land. Some native trees are found nowhere else in the world, including Kauri trees (pictured below), among the oldest trees on the planet, some estimated to have been alive over 4000 years!
(Kauri Trees, courtesy Trees That Count)
To take advantage of this symbol of renewal, readers can share their disappointments from the year on the Tourism New Zealand website’s 'Forest of Hope' page.
For every disappointment shared with Tourism New Zealand between December 1 and December 31, 2020, a native Kiwi tree will be planted along the iconic Queenstown bike trail in the Southland, or among the Wiapoua Forest in the Northland.
You can also give a gift of a tree this year to a friend or loved one, give back to yourself, or simply give back to the environment by purchasing another tree to be planted for a nominal donation.
(Trees That Count: Planting at Queenstown)
And once the country’s borders open for travel and New Zealand is able to welcome visitors again, people will be able to visit the tree they helped grow.
Tourism New Zealand is partnering with Trees That Count. It’s a local non-profit with a goal of planting 200 million native trees across the country. They are over 30 million trees towards that goal now, and estimate in the next half-century, the new native trees will cleanse the earth’s atmosphere of more than 5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.
(Tane Mahuta; photo David Kirkland)
It’s a wonderful way for us to feel connected to the earth and people on the other side of the world even as we dream of travelling again soon.
And Tourism New Zealand’s Forest of Hope is also and mindful - and thankful - way to say goodbye to this year’s disappointments and plant a seed of hope to look forward to better times ahead in 2021.
Top Photo: Eastwoodhill Arboretum, Eastland, courtesy Tourism Eastland Inc