Matariki Tu Rākau funding for memorial tree planting in your community

Your community can apply for funding to plant trees as living memorials to honour New Zealand’s heroes.

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About Matariki Tu Rākau tree planting

Matariki Tu Rākau is part of the One Billion Trees programme and is delivered through Te Uru Rākau (Forestry New Zealand). Through its funding of trees, it is helping people to plant living memorials that honour members of their communities who have:

  • made practical change through their efforts
  • brought distinction to New Zealand through their work
  • enhanced New Zealand's reputation in their area or activity.

Funding available

Te Uru Rākau will provide funding for trees (preferably native trees) to be planted on suitable land that is accessible to the public or iwi, including parks, places of remembrance, and marae. Applications will be considered for a planting area of less than 1 hectare. Te Uru Rākau will provide funding through community groups, schools, councils, the Royal New Zealand Returned and Services Associations (RNZRSA), and marae.

For their Matariki Tu Rākau project, local communities decide together:

  • where to plant
  • what to plant
  • who will prepare and maintain the planting areas
  • how to celebrate their living memorial as it begins, and in the future
  • how to get the local community involved.

Matariki is celebrated in June to July, near the middle of the planting season for most of the country. The rising of the constellation of Matariki marks a traditional time of harvest, thanksgiving, and remembrance celebrated as the Māori New Year.

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Watch a video about one project (1.24)

How to get involved in Matariki Tu Rākau

To take part, contact your local council, RNZRSA, or marae to find out if they have planned anything for your area.

If nothing is planned, you can get things started. Complete the application form – it covers all the details that need to be arranged.

Matariki Tu Rākau Grant application form [DOCX, 94 KB]

Our guide will help you tell your community about your plans

We've created a communications guide to help you spread the word and get your community involved.

Matariki Tu Rākau communications guide [PDF, 409 KB]

Matariki Tu Rākau Commemorative Tree Planting in Your Community brochure [PDF, 332 KB]

What you need to know to apply for funding

How much funding to ask for

The application form gives details of how much you can apply for. Funding will vary depending on the number of trees to be planted and the size of your event.

We’ll provide funding for:

  • trees
  • a commemorative plaque or a contribution to signage
  • a contribution to costs of facilitating community-wide planting events including clearance and maintenance (at Te Uru Rākau's discretion).

What type of planting event is eligible

Local events and plantings will ideally be co-designed by the community and include a fitting expression of the local community past and present – it can be as simple or elaborate and as casual or formal as you wish.

Invitations will be open to your whole community – children, families, iwi, descendants of past service men and women, and those new to the community.

Suitable trees to plant

Trees should be appropriate species for healthy permanent plantings at your chosen site. We prefer native species, especially those that are regionally appropriate, but you can plant other species significant to the community.

How many trees to plant

The number of trees is up to your community, and depends on the site you have available. It may be a handful or hundreds.

The number of trees planted and their location will be recorded and made publicly available as part of the Government's One Billion Trees Programme. Plantings will become part of the living salute trail around New Zealand.

What memorial tree plantings should be like

The site, design and setting is up to your local community.

The priority is that the planted trees and area remain permanently accessible to the public or iwi, and it continues to be maintained. Possible locations could be:

  • in public parks or reserves
  • civic centres
  • marae/hapū land
  • along prominent roads and avenues
  • near existing memorials.

History of the Matariki Tu Rākau Grant

The Government announced Matariki Tu Rākau on Anzac Day, 25 April 2018. The first tree plantings and local community-led celebrations began during Matariki (Māori New Year) 2018.

The programme is one of a series of initiatives around the country to mark the 100-year anniversary of the end of the First World War. There will be a number of Matariki Tu Rākau events between 2018 and 2020.

Over the 3 years, Matariki Tu Rākau plantings will create a national trail of living salutes for service men and women of the Defence Force that complement our time-honoured War Memorials. They will be places where whanau, communities, and visitors can visit in years to come to reflect and appreciate the work and sacrifices of our service people.

In October of 2019, Te Uru Rākau (Forestry New Zealand) extended the commemorative nature of Matariki Tu Rākau to include other commemorative projects. For example, applications can be submitted to commemorate those who have demonstrated innovation, entrepreneurship, improved the lives of others, or exemplified selfless voluntary service. These can include Māori leaders, philanthropic contributors, writers, artists, and others.

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