World Environment Day and Arbor Day are celebrated together on the 5th of June here in New Zealand.

World Environment Day (WED) is celebrated every year to raise global awareness and to inspire people to take positive environmental action to protect nature and the planet. WED is run by the United Nations Environment Programme. The WED theme this year is therefore “Seven Billion Dreams. One Planet. Consume with Care”.

The very first Arbor Day was celebrated in 1805 in a small Spanish village, inspired by a local priest. Since then it has been celebrated on different days throughout the world.

Arbor Day and World Environment Day

Arbor Day in New Zealand

New Zealand’s first Arbor Day planting was actually in Greytown on 3 July 1890. Arbor day began in New Zealand thanks to the work of Dr Leonard Cockayne, who is generally recognised as the greatest botanist who has lived. He worked extensively on native plants throughout New Zealand and wrote many important botanical texts. Even as early as the 1920’s he held a vision for school students of New Zealand to be involved in planting native trees and plants in their school grounds.

Since 1977, New Zealand has celebrated Arbor Day on June 5 in conjunction with WED. Today many schools throughout New Zealand acknowledge Arbor Day with tree planting activities.

Celebrating World Environment Day and Arbor Day

To celebrate Arbor Day you could:

If you did want to volunteer for the DOC, you can contribute to conservation in many different ways including:

  • tree planting
  • weed control
  • species monitoring and translocations
  • habitat restoration
  • track and hut maintenance
  • historic building restoration
  • bird counts
  • whale strandings.

Check out activities in your region or browse by the type of activity.


Mummy to three small boys

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