Rugby legend Richie Guy is helping plant 4500 native trees and shrubs at Long Bay Regional Park tomorrow as part of the Living Legends project.
It's a community conservation project established last year to celebrate and leave a legacy of New Zealand's hosting of the Rugby World Cup. About 85,000 native trees were planted.
This year, Living Legends is returning to the same 17 regions to plant a further 45,000 natives.
Each planting project is dedicated to a rugby legend from the region, selected in 2011 by each provincial rugby union based on their significant contribution to rugby in New Zealand.
North Harbour Rugby Legend Wayne "Buck" Shelford was at Long Bay last year but is unable to attend this time.
So Northland Rugby Legend Richie Guy has stepped up and will be planting alongside hundreds of other volunteers.
Living Legends project manager Devon McLean says the project will contribute hugely to conservation.
"By the end of the Living Legends project in 2015 we will have planted 170,000 native trees," he says. "With a planting programme of this scale the conservation benefits to New Zealand will be extraordinary.
"It really is a gift to future generations of New Zealanders, and a lovely way to leave a legacy of Rugby World Cup 2011."
Long Bay Regional Park is a popular recreation area for Aucklanders, attracting more than a million visitors annually with its sweeping beach adjoining a marine reserve and native forest, including pohutukawa, puriri and taraire.
Living Legends is helping restore a rare habitat type, the wetland forest.
Buck Shelford says he is very happy to be chosen as the North Harbour Rugby Legend and is sorry he cannot attend.
"I attended the Living Legends event in North Harbour in 2011 and it was a great day. It's a great programme, and a privilege to be able to make a difference to New Zealand for generations to come."
Volunteers are welcome. It is free but people need to register their interest at livinglegends.co.nz to receive information on what they need to bring along and further detail about the day.
Living Legends is a joint venture of Project Crimson, an environmental charity with 22 years' experience in community-based native restoration projects, and The Tindall Foundation.
Major sponsors are the Conservation Department and Meridian Energy.
- © Fairfax NZ News