Day with a ‘Living Legend’ on Motuihe Island

Friday 16th September 2011

More than 20 Lions from the Howick Club had a great day on Motuihe Island planting trees as part of the “Living Legends” project.

Inspired by Lions Clubs International President Dr Wing-Kun Tam’s call to plant a million trees, about 60 Lions and friends joined a contingent of over 400 people on the Hauraki Gulf island to plant native trees, along with “Living Legend” Bryan Williams.

It would be hard to think of anyone who made a more monumental contribution to New Zealand and world rugby than Bryan Williams. As a player Williams, an automatic test selection for the All Blacks through the 1970s, rates as one of the greatest wings produced by New Zealand. When he retired after a long career he devoted himself to coaching, achieving remarkable results firstly with Auckland and then with Manu Samoa.

A very nice touch to end a successful and enjoyable day, with the Waitemata Harbour and the weather on their very best behavior, was Bryan Williams at the end of the gangplank shaking hands with every departing participant as a “thank you” gesture.

Devon McLean, chairman of Project Crimson and the MC for the day, commented: “Thanks for all your support on Saturday and for the great turnout from Lions. What a glorious day and a very successful one too, with 6,800 plants in the ground and beautifully watered in on Sunday by the welcome rain.”

The “Living Legends” tree planting project is taking place throughout New Zealand during Rugby World Cup 2011. Each of the 17 plantings is in conjunction with a provincial rugby union and dedicated to a “Rugby Legend” selected by the unions themselves. Living Legends will plant 85,000 trees in 2011 and a total of 170,000 trees by the end of 2015.

The objectives of the project are to use the occasion of Rugby World Cup 2011 to raise awareness among all New Zealanders, and international visitors, of the importance of the New Zealand environment and the role they can play in protecting and enhancing it; to provide an opportunity for New Zealanders and our visitors to engage in authentically Kiwi activity and to create a legacy for RWC 2011 and celebrate our Rugby Legends.

Living Legends is a Partnership between The Tindall Foundation, Project Crimson, the Department of Conservation and Meridian Energy. It is part of the REAL New Zealand Festival – a festival showcasing New Zealand to visitors during Rugby World Cup 2011

Motuihe is a small jewel in the Hauraki Gulf with two beautiful white sand beaches, stunning nature walks and views and a unique history. The uninhabited island is just 60 minutes by boat from downtown Auckland.Once covered in native flora and fauna, only 10 percent of Motuihe remains in its natural state today.

In an effort to restore the island's vegetation and wildlife, the Motuihe Island Restoration Project has been developed to transform it into an island of beaches, native forests and open spaces, providing a home to rare and endangered native birds and insects. Visitors to the island can play a part in helping to implement this vision by participating in the Restoration Project's tree planting programme.

Top photo: Some of the members of Howick Lions Club on Motuihe Island.

Above: A well-earned rest - Nigel Oliver, Alan Sheath, Terry Molvik and Elsabe Molvik

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