Bushy Park Trust and Project Crimson to improve visitor access to Ratanui

Bushy Park, with its 90ha rain forest, has possibly one of the best examples of a New Zealand rata forest, containing significant presence of northern rata. It’s home to the impressive “Ratanui” a 43m high, 12m round tree, believed to be the country’s largest rata. National conservation charity Project Crimson has been supporting Bushy Park Trust’s northern rata initiatives for many years, and they are once again a recipient of funding following Project Crimson’s 2015 Community Restoration Programme.

The Project Crimson Trust has been protecting and restoring pohutukawa and rata trees, and their ecosystems since 1990. After finding that pohutukawa and rata were in serious decline, Project Crimson has overseen the replanting of more than 300,000 trees by communities throughout New Zealand. Each year Project Crimson reviews applications and supplies trees or funding to groups and individuals around New Zealand who aspire to create a long-term benefit to their local community through conservation projects involving pohutukawa or rata. Joris de Bres, Chairman of Project Crimson says “Organisations like Bushy Park Trust have played a major part in protecting some of New Zealand’s best rata stands so we are thrilled to be able to continue to support their amazing work.”

This year, funding from Project Crimson will enable Bushy Park Trust to improve the visitor experience by upgrading the main walking tracks and public viewing areas to Ratanui. The Trust also intends to collect seed from some of their northern ratas and then grow potted rata trees for sale to the public, providing an income for Bushy Park whilst increasing awareness about rata.

“Project Crimson was one of our earliest supporters, assisting us with the erection of an interpretation panel about Ratanui over 10 years ago. Our Trust has recently had this sign refurbished and thanks to the support of Project Crimson we can now provide better access for visitors to view this magnificent tree along with several of its slightly smaller, but equally impressive, siblings” says Bushy Park Trust Chairperson Liz Tennet.

Recently long-time supporter of Bushy Park Trust, Allan Anderson, won the environmental award in the prestigious Pride of New Zealand awards for his many years of work on behalf of Bushy Park reserve. The Wanganui conservationist plans to use part of the $4000 cheque he received as part of his national award to create more information signage for rata at Bushy Park.