More than 62,000 native trees will be planted around the country this year - including almost 28,000 in Northland - thanks to people who chose to go green for Christmas gifting.
Trees That Count, a programme of the Project Crimson Trust, which provides the option of gifting native trees, reported a record 62,686 gifts in December, an increase of 119 per cent on December 2019.
"We know 2020 has been a challenging year for many of us, so we're really thrilled to have seen so much support for New Zealand's big backyard this Christmas," CEO Adele Fitzpatrick said.
As a result of Kiwis' generosity, 27,964 native trees will be given to 32 planting groups throughout Northland to be planted this year.
The native tree gifts will directly translate to trees in the ground this winter planting season, and while the trees themselves would be matched to worthy conservation projects to be planted and cared for, the recipients had received personalised gift certificates via email, confirming their tree would help to grow New Zealand for years to come.
Gifted and donated native trees delivered myriad benefits, Fitzpatrick said, including restoring ecosystems, cleaning waterways, boosting communities and mitigating the impacts of climate change.
The 62,686 native trees donated last Christmas had the potential to remove more than 27,000 tonnes of CO2 - a greenhouse gas - from the atmosphere over the next 50 years.
"We're very grateful to generous New Zealanders for helping our native forests have an even bigger positive impact on the climate through their donations, and also to those overseas who have donated or gifted trees," she said.
From 2016 to 2020, Trees That Count supported 560 planting projects around the country, with trees funded by businesses and individuals. This year that number would rise to more than 700, following a record number of applications for funded native trees from keen planters.
"It's inspiring to see that so many Kiwis - community groups, farmers, iwi, families, schools and more - are out there restoring our land by planting native rakau," she said.
"Gifting native trees isn't limited globally, and also isn't just for Christmas time. We've always got more demand from planting groups, so we fundraise year-round.
"We're excited to see native trees become the gift of choice for many more Kiwis this year, as we celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, new births, and just to say thanks."
For more about gifting native trees go to treesthatcount.co.nz/gifting