I spent November 2019 in New Zealand and had hoped to be back again this year, but the Covid-19 pandemic ended that notion. Still, I hold out some hope to return to Aotearoa sometime in 2021. In the meantime, New Zealand hopes to inspire some positivity for us all in 2021 with its Forest of Hope campaign.
Tourism New Zealand has invited folks from all over the world to share their disappointments of 2020 online. For every misfortune shared, users are invited to put a positive spin on their situation by donating a tree in the Forest of Hope. This new forest of native trees will represent hope and regrowth for 2021, according to Sarah Handley, general manager for Tourism New Zealand.
“In New Zealand, the Te Reo Māori values of manaaki and tiaki have become incredibly relevant today. Manaaki speaks to the importance of having empathy and tiaki inspires us to care for people and place,” Handley explained. “While our borders remain closed to international visitors, we want to extend a little manaaki and encourage a sense of tiaki to those who are in need of some optimism for the new year.”
Tourism New Zealand has teamed up with New Zealand conservation charity Trees That Count to launch the Forest of Hope initiative, which will plant trees in Queenstown and Northland. People who donate a tree can track their journey on the Trees That Count website. They will also receive an email notification once their trees are planted.
Those interested can share their disappointments from the year on the Tourism New Zealand website.