Introduction

Arbor Day and World Environment Day will be celebrated this Queen's Birthday weekend with a native coastal planting at Tolaga Bay and 'the best things in life are free theme event organised by the Tairawhiti Environment Centre in Gisborne.

If you’re looking for something to do over Queen’s Birthday Weekend, Arbor Day and World Environment Day will be celebrated with a native coastal planting at Tolaga Bay and 'The best things in life are free' theme event, organised by the Tairawhiti Environment Centre in Gisborne.

Arbor Day on 5 June each year celebrates the role trees play in providing for our well-being. Trees play an important role in moderating our climate, improving our air quality, controlling floodwaters and providing homes and food for our unique wildlife. While "World Environment Day creates awareness of the environment" says Community Relations Ranger Trudi Ngawhare.

“The native planting has extra significance as it will be the first of a series of lead-up events towards next year’s “Transit of Venus”, an astronomical phenomenon due on 6 June 2012, where Tolaga Bay will be an international focus for observing the rare occurrence” says Ms Ngawhare.

Awatea and Manaia Haenga at Pokai Marae, Tikapa. Photo: Trudi Ngawhare.
Awatea and Manaia Haenga at Pokai Marae, Tikapa rongoa Maori planting

Those interested in taking part in the native coastal planting should meet at the Uawa river mouth planting site at Tolaga Bay by 10am on Monday 6 June.

'The best things in life are free' theme event, which includes free worm giveaways for worm farms, plants, plus food and nibbles, will be happening at Tairawhiti Environment Centre, 50 Roebuck Road from 11am - 1pm followed by a planting at Lovers Lane on Sunday 5 June.

“We are hoping Tamanui-te-Ra will be kind this weekend and look forward to seeing many people out enjoying these events to celebrate Arbor Day and World Environment Day” says Ms Ngawhare.

Background information

Provided by Te Uawanui o Ruamatua on the Transit of Venus:

  • The Transit of Venus occurs when the planet Venus passes directly between the sun and the earth. During the transit, Venus can be seen as a small black disk moving across the face of the sun. Transits occur in pairs, 8 years apart, but each pair of transits is separated by over a century. The last transit on 8 June 2004 was not visible in New Zealand. The second transit of this pair is 6 June 2012 and will be best observed from the South West Pacific. The next pair is due in 2117 and 2125.
  • Why is Tolaga Bay of significance to this rare event? The observation of the Transit of Venus from Tahiti in June 1769 was one of the purposes for the expedition led by James Cook on the ship Endeavour. Cook's other instructions included looking for 'Terra Australis' the fabled southern continent. After his landing in Gisborne, Cook explored further and eventually anchored in Anaura Bay, running short of provisions. When the sea became too rough, Te Aitanga a Hauiti Rangatira escorted the ship to Opoutama, the place commmonly known as 'Cooks Cove', a sheltered harbour for the Endeavour. Brisk trade in food, technology and cultural items resulted. Scientist and artists from the crew collected flora and fauna and recorded the landscape. These encounters between Te Aitanga a Hauiti and the British visitors mark the first significant exchange between Maori and pakeha and are the beginning of the dual heritage and shared history of present residents of Tolaga Bay.
  • The MacDiarmid Institute, Victoria University, and the Royal Society of New Zealand are planning a cross sector Futures Forum focusing on the Transit of Venus to be held in Gisborne 7-8 June 2012. Prof. Sir Paul Callaghan, world reknown scientist, supports Tolaga Bay as centre of observation for Transit of Venus 2010 "...we will use this 2012 waypoint to contemplate the future of our land and descendants, in a series of celebrations and events centered on Tolaga Bay..."
  • Local members involved in the planning for hosting the significant event see the flow on opportunities, namely an ecological restoration along the Uawa River, repatriating native species identified in 1769, history tourism, and the education benefits for school and the community. 
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