NZ’s Tree of Hope – New Zealand

Topic
Sustainability Area: Reflection on sustainability

Project Description
The symbolic Tree of Hope, built on December 5, International Volunteers’ Day, was youthinkgreen NZ’s first big, public event. The tree was constructed out of recycled materials such as rusted steel tyre rims and steel rods with the vision of local artist Carl Gifford. It was put up in Civic Square, a large public square on Wellington waterfront, and throughout the day members of the public were asked to write their own messages and hopes for a sustainable future on its paper leaves. Students and staff from Wellington Girls’ College also contributed their leaves to our tree. By the end of the day, our tree had ‘grown’ thousands of leaves that reflected real and thoughtful engagement with climate change and sustainability issues from the public. We are delighted about how our event went, and the outcome of our initiative is just amazing: fantastic input from passers-by, brilliant ideas and messages reflecting real concern with our environment, and lots of fun in writing and tying up the leaves on the branches of the tree.

Timeframe
The event itself ran on December 5, International Volunteers’ Day, however is still ongoing. Once installed in the atrium of the Wellington City Council, passers-by will be able to continue adding their messages to the leaves of the tree. In the future we are also looking at promoting interactive activities around the Tree of Hope at Te Papa Tongarewa, National Museum.

Most importantly, we have analysed and categorised the messages written on the leaves and we have identified key areas of public concern, which we will look to become involved in and change for the better.

Partners and Supporters
Carl Gifford, artist behind the Tree of Hope’s design
350: Aotearoa, environmental NGO in New Zealand
Wellington Girls’ College
Wellington City Council
Te Papa Tongarewa, National Museum
BigPic Printing
Ingot Scrap Metals, Porirua Auto-Dismantlers, Strong for Honda, Honda, Brendan Foot Supersite, Hillside Auto Wreckers.

Our offer
Our project successfully encouraged interaction with passers-by, who were provided with the impulse to pause for a few minutes from their daily lives and reflect on the future of the environment and their personal hopes for a sustainable future. We found this to be a very successful way of raising awareness about climate change and sustainability issues.

Our needs
Once we develop a new initiative in light of the suggestions for improvement and concerns expressed by the public we will need funding for our project.

Contact
Contact Person: Nora Guzu
Email: youthinkgreenNZ[at]gmail.com