In case of nuclear holocaust - NZ's national arboretum, Eastwoodhill

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New Zealand's national arboretum, Eastwoodhill, could play an important part in saving northern hemisphere trees under threat from climate change, says American landscape architect, Thomas Woltz.

Located in Ngatapa, 35km northwest of Gisborne, the 135 hectare property is planted out in 25,000 species of native and exotic trees, shrubs and climber plants. Among those species is the largest collection of northern hemisphere trees and shrubs in the southern hemisphere.

 Eastwoodhill - New Zealand's national arboretum could play a role in preserving species threatened by climate change.

Eastwoodhill - New Zealand's national arboretum could play a role in preserving species threatened by climate change.

Eastwoodhill Arboretum was the life work of William Douglas Cook, a farmer who bought the original piece of land in 1910. He stayed 55 years before selling the property to Bill Williams.

It was later decided that Eastwoodhill should become a trust and in 1975 the Eastwoodhill Trust Act was passed, and cataloguing of the collection began.

Thomas Woltz and his firm, Nelson Byrd Woltz Landscape Architects, were engaged to develop a master plan to guide the arboretum into the next 100 years.

Woltz says Douglas Cook originally began the collection because he was concerned about a nuclear holocaust in the northern hemisphere, and believed New Zealand's remoteness could save species.

"Eastwoodhill could build on the cultural history and vision of Cook but update it for the 21st century," Woltz says. "It could become what we have called an arboreal ark where the live specimens could be brought to New Zealand, put through quarantine to make sure we aren't introducing any pathogens to New Zealand and then planted out."

When it was safe to do so the plants could then be repatriated to the northern hemisphere.

See Thomas speak about Eastwoodhill below.