Staff at the Mercure Hotel in Picton planted a native tree for every core staff member – and broke a pick in the process.
Volunteers from Picton Playcentre joined hotel staff members in planting 15 native trees at the Beach Rd reserve in Waikawa Bay to raise the total number of trees planted in New Zealand by the Accor hotel group to 3200 in April.
Hotel manager Matt Juniper said the goal of the project was to plant a tree for every core staff member, but the team had not expected the dirt to be so tough at the reserve.
"We had to borrow a pick axe, we couldn't get into it, and the handle ended up breaking off.
"We didn't realise how hard the ground was until we started trying to dig into it."
A herb garden with mint, parsley and chives was planted at the hotel for use in the kitchen.
Accor hotel staff in the Asia and Pacific region planted 35,000 trees in 13 countries in April.
The trees were planted close to the water under guidance from Marlborough District Council reserves and amenities officer Robin Dunn.
He showed the volunteers where to plant the trees, how to do it, and even supplied them.
Accor used the tree planting to mark the launch of PLANET 21, the group's sustainable development programme, in New Zealand.
Staff at the Mercure joined those from other Accor hotels around the country in committing themselves to all hotels banning endangered seafood from menus, having all staff trained in disease prevention, a 15 per cent reduction in water consumption and a 10 per cent decrease in electricity usage by 2015.
- The Marlborough Express