Planting of rimu honours new monarch

A crowd of about 40 gathered at the Dunedin Botanic Garden to plant a rimu tree in the lower gardens, near the intersection of Great King St North and Opoho Rd at 11am on Saturday.

The ceremony opened with a karakia performed by Ōtākou Runaka mana whenua representative Tumai Cassidy.

Dunedin Mayor Jules Radich said similar ceremonies were happening around the Commonwealth, which was fitting for such a significant moment in their shared history.

It was a very special occasion, as the last coronation occurred 70 years ago.

King Charles III was well known for his commitment to conservation and sustainability, which were themes which had a special place in New Zealand society

Dunedin residents and visitors would be able to appreciate the tree, which could grow to 35m tall, for many generations to come, Mr Radich said.

Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki upoko David Ellison put the first shovelful of dirt around the tree.

Labour MP Rachel Brooking (left) and Donna Matahaere-Atariki (right) look on while Kāti Huirapa...
Labour MP Rachel Brooking (left) and Donna Matahaere-Atariki (right) look on while Kāti Huirapa Rūnaka ki Puketeraki upoko David Ellison, of Karitane, leads cheers of "God save the King" at a tree-planting ceremony at the Dunedin Botanic Garden, marking the coronation of the King and Queen on Saturday. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
After other dignitaries, including local MPs, added shovelfuls, Mr Ellison sprinkled water collected from sacred springs at Aoraki/Mt Cook and led the crowd in a rousing chant of "God save the King", followed by cheers.

Assembled children then had a go at filling in the dirt.

Mr Ellison said it felt "just wonderful" to be at the ceremony and he was tickled pink to see the range of people who had come out, both young and old.

He had met King Charles before, when the then-prince visited Orokonui Ecosanctuary in 2016.

It was especially poignant to be leading the tree-planting ceremony, as he had been given the role of welcoming Queen Elizabeth in a speech when he was in secondary school.

The new monarch would be a good king, Mr Ellison said.

A tree was also planted at the same time in a ceremony at Mosgiel.


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