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NZThis weekend I threw two birthday parties for my son who turned 16 on Friday. One for him to whoop it up with his teenage friends on Friday (roasting hotdogs over the fire – pictures to come) and then a laid back family barbeque on Sunday.

This next week, I will be throwing yet another party celebrating the birth of something new and I am inviting you to join me!

As the Events Manager at the Arboretum for my day job, I have been working on a project all summer that I am thrilled to tell you about! On Sunday, September 15, The Arboretum Foundation, Seattle Parks and Recreation, and the University of Washington Botanic Gardens invite the public to join in the celebration of the opening of the stunning, new, 2-acre New Zealand Forest at Washington Park Arboretum.

The Opening Celebration on September 15 will pay homage to New Zealand’s culture and ethnobotanical history. It will feature a traditional Maori “haka,” or war dance, as well as a dedication ceremony with Maori wood carver Caine Tauwhare, who helped create a special park bench for the new forest. There will also be guided tours, family activities, speeches by Seattle Deputy Mayor Darryl Smith and other dignitaries, a ribbon cutting, live music, and refreshments.

I hope to see you all there!

New Zealand Forest Opening Celebration

Date: Sunday, September 15

Time: 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Where: Pacific Connections Meadow, Washington Park Arboretum (2300 Arboretum Drive East, Seattle).

Why: The New Zealand Forest is the most dramatic new exhibit in the Arboretum since the opening of the Japanese Garden in 1960. Planted on a two-acre, boulder-strewn slope with breathtaking views, it is the first of five eco-geographic forests to be completed in the Pacific Connections Garden, which will eventually cover 14 acres and be the largest exhibit of its kind in North America. The unique new forest features nearly 10,000 plants, mostly grown from seeds collected in the wilds of New Zealand. Planning for the forest began more than a decade ago as part of the Arboretum’s 2001 Master Plan. Construction of the forest, which started in 2010, cost roughly $2 million in private and public funds.

This event is free and open to the public.

Poster design by Jason Becker Creative.