Kauri seedlings given new home on Rotoroa Island

One-hundred Kauri seedlings, grown from kauri at the iconic Colin McCahon House in Titirangi, have been planted on Rotoroa Island in the Hauraki Gulf.

Many of the trees that iconic New Zealand artist McMahon painted are dying from kauri dieback.

The trees, although only small, already carry a rich history.

"The trees that they came from are now dying of kauri dieback, so there's a sort of poignancy to this planting here today," Alison Henry of Kauri 2000 Trust says.

The seedlings have been grown from the cones of kauri that famously feature in Colin McCahon's paintings.  

His house in Titirangi is surrounded by kauri - a site that has since been badly affected by kauri dieback.

Chair of McCahon House Trust Cynthia Smith says 25 of the kauri at McCahon House have been afflicted by the disease.

The precious kauri cargo was ferried across to the island, that sits in the Hauraki Gulf.

Volunteers from The Kauri 2000 Trust, the Colin McCahon House Trust, and the Bank of New Zealand, who bought the seedlings, took them to the planting site.

The miniature kauri has been carefully grown and very closely quarantined.

Rotoroa Island is predator-free which makes it a great spot for the seedlings - although it's likely kauri has never grown there before, so the 100 seedlings will be the first of their kind.

Everyone is pitching in to ensure it's a success, says Ms Smith.

"These kids are going to come back and see these trees growing, and they're McCahon's children - it's children planting children."

A project bringing together two passions - art and conservation - using one Kiwi icon to save another.


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