Descendants of the Gallipoli Peninsula’s Lone Pine have been planted around
New Zealand at events associated with Anzac Day centenary commemorations.
About 50 two-year-old seedlings of this special tree were propagated by Scion at its research nursery in Rotorua and gifted to Returned Services Associations nationwide.
Scion tree breeder Toby Stovold with a Lone Pine descendant.
The seeds were collected in 2012 from the Turkish red pine, scientifically named Pinus brutia, growing at Paeroa’s golfcourse.
This tree is an authenticated New Zealand descendant of the original Lone Pine and traces back to a pine cone brought home by Australian soldier Sergeant Keith McDowell after World War I.
Scion scientist Toby Stovold, who collected the seeds and helped raise the seedlings, says he first got involved in 2009 when approached by the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council wanting to donate seedlings from the Paeroa tree to RSAs in the region.
“From the 2012 seed collection we have raised close to 50 seedlings that we have been able to donate for commemorative plantings this year.”
RSAs around the country from Waiuku to Invercargill have taken up Scion’s offer to include a seedling in their Anzac Day commemoration ceremonies.
Seedlings have also gone to the National Army Museum in Waiouru for a memorial garden. Another seedling is planted in Christchurch’s Park of Remembrance on Poppy Day.
In Rotorua, the home of Scion, a seedling was planted in the Government Gardens at an evening ceremony on April 23 to consecrate Rotorua’s Field of Remembrance, from April 23-28.
Scion general manager of forest science Brian Richardson says Scion is uniquely placed to make this meaningful contribution to the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli campaign.
“I am humbled by the loyalty and sacrifice of all those who have served for our country, and am very proud that Scion can gift these trees as a living memorial to honour our veterans and their descendants.”
Lone Pine is of significance because the tree was an important landmark in the battle fields and the site is today marked by a cemetery.
“At the Lone Pine Cemetery and Memorial at Gallipoli it is moving to realise that this place was once a battlefield,” according to an article about Lone Pine on www.anzacsite.gov.au/5environment/vc/lonepine.html
“At Lone Pine, with its sweeping views over the Aegean and down the Gallipoli peninsula, Turks and Australians lived, fought and died. During the days of the Battle of the Landing, April 25 to May 3, this area was the scene of a fierce struggle as the Anzacs tried to push inland and then settled for establishing a line on the seaward side of the plateau against Turkish counter-attacks.
“There are a number of headstones in the cemetery with dates in April 1915, especially April 25, the day of the landing.
“But Lone Pine is not remembered today for those early clashes of the Gallipoli campaign. Many more headstones here carry dates between August 6-9, 1915, the days of the Battle of Lone Pine,” the article reads in part.