Forest of Memories

The first planting of a Forest of Memories – Te Wao Whakamaumaharatanga will take place on the Coromandel Peninsula on April 25, Anzac Day.

Gallipoli Grove will be the first of the forests planted to commemorate the New Zealand landing at what came to be called Anzac Cove in Turkey in 1915 with the plan to have plantings completed on Armistice Day (November 11) 2018. Each forest will mark battles of significance to our soldiers.

Doesn’t this sound like a marvellous way to remember our war dead? The idea belongs to Chris Adams, the first chief executive of Tourism Coromandel, who now works for a  tourism marketing consultancy. He took it to Thames-Coromandel Mayor Glenn Leach and the council, to its credit, has fully embraced the vision – and is acting as underwriter for the estimated $452,000 cost. The organisers plan to recoup costs from grants and by selling trees to people who want to remember particular soldiers.

One part of the website says a tree price hasn’t been settled yet, but inquiries are welcome, while another says the trees will be $100 each. For more information go to the website (you can sign up for an email newsletter), phone 07 868 0200 or email Ben Dunbar-Smith.

Contractors will prepare the planting sites and schoolchildren and community members will put the trees in the holes. Each tree will be numbered and plotted on GPS.

The forests form part of the official New Zealand WW100 commemorations.