Queenstown's Rata restaurant raises profile of Project Crimson

Rata is more than just a name for the prominent new Queenstown restaurant owned by New Zealand Masterchef judge Josh Emett and business partner Fleur Caulton. The pair are passionate about the conservation of the rata tree which is reflected in their endorsement for the work of the Project Crimson Trust.

“There is obviously strong synergy between Rata restaurant and the work of the Trust and we want to participate and use our brand to promote its projects,” says Caulton. “Our catchline is ‘Uniquely Southern’ which signals our absolute love for the south and its environment and that particularly includes native trees like the rata.”

Rata restaurant’s feature wall is a stunning image of the rata in its Wakatipu landscape at the head of the lake and the goal is to help heighten appreciation locally of the significance of the species.

Project Crimson Trust is also partnered by Martinborough Winery Ata Rangi, which has produced the pinot noir label Crimson. The wine is inspired by the work of the Trust in protecting and encouraging the regeneration of rata and pohutukawa.

“We believe that with our increasing profile we can add to the work that the other partners including Ata Rangi, the Department of Conservation, Starfish and the Mazda Foundation are doing to promote this important conservation work,” says Caulton.

The Rata Crimson lunch menu option has been developed specifically to support the Trust. The $50 four course lunch which includes a glass of Ata Rangi Crimson is being offered daily and four per cent of the revenue will be donated to the Trust.

“We think this is a good starting point and we expect great support from both our local customers and visitors who like the idea of helping preserve this important part of New Zealand’s heritage. The Trust has made a lot of progress nationally in planting both pohutukawa and rata trees, as well as co-ordinating a range of maintenance and protection programmes and promoting public education but it needs on going assistance.”

Project Crimson has a significant focus in schools throughout the country encouraging children to take pride in their environment and New Zealand’s native flora.

“We hope to use our excellent community contacts to get schools in our region involved and raise awareness of Project Crimson’s fantastic work as a leading conservation organisation,” says Caulton.