12 December 2019
Synlait tree planting programme launched by Prime Minister today
The team from Synlait Dunsandel today hosted Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern who launched
Whakapuāwai, an environmental programme connecting, our people, our farmers, and our community
through the planting of native trees.
Whakapuāwai is a wide-reaching environmental programme that incorporates the establishment of an
industrial scale nursery to propagate native plants. The 15-hectare site at Synlait Dunsandel, will be
capable of growing more than one million native trees and shrubs annually, and our goal is to plant four
million native trees on farms and community land by 2028.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern opened Whakapuāwai planting a kowhai, a native New Zealand tree, that
now sits alongside more than 1,000 natives already planted. Synlait staff will also receive one paid day per
year to plant natives as a way of supporting commitments to our farmers and communities to jointly
restore land in Canterbury.
Synlait’s CEO Leon Clement commented: “We can’t solve environmental challenges on our own, but
through Whakapuāwai we can lead by example and help connect our milk suppliers and community
groups to make a real difference. New Zealanders are passionate about creating a sustainable future for
our country, and at Synlait, we are in an ideal position to shape the change needed in our industry. It’s our
purpose to do milk differently for a healthier world, and Whakapuāwai brings this to life.”
“Our customers, and their consumers, have rapidly shifting expectations when it comes to how we care for
our planet, people and animals, and Synlait is responding to these demands to ensure a healthier world for
all. It’s our business to shape a future that ensures agricultural and industry is fit for a better world.”
The Prime Minister was joined by the Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor and Synlait staff, milk
suppliers and local iwi members at the event.
The Prime Minister also visited New Zealand’s first large-scale electrode boiler while at Synlait, which
provides renewable process heat for company’s advanced dairy liquid packing facility. Synlait made a
deliberate decision to not build another coal boiler is part of company’s bold sustainability strategy
announced in 2018, which leads the way to a lower emissions future for New Zealand as we work to reach
our goal of reducing off-farm greenhouse gas emissions by 50% by 2028.
What does Whakapuāwai mean?
Whakapuāwai means “to cause to blossom, develop, flourish, prosper, thrive”. It is Synlait’s commitment to
restoring and regenerating native ecosystems, waterways and wetlands, flora and fauna. It is about
drawing people and groups together to improve water quality and restore biodiversity and re-establish
mahinga kai – the places and natural resources that are culturally important to Māori and our community.
For further background about Synlait’s Whakapuāwai Programme and Electrode Boiler please see the fact
sheets released alongside this announcement.
You can read more about Synlait’s sustainability strategy in our ‘Sustainability at Synlait’ report released last