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The Project Crimson Trust is a charitable conservation trust established in 1990 when it became apparent that many pohutukawa and Rata trees around the country were being wiped out. It is dedicated to fighting for the survival of the trees and has attracted strong national support in its bid to enable both species to flourish again in their natural habitat.
In 2012, Rata partnered with the trust and through annual fundraising will help Project Crimson to plant native trees specifically in the Wakatipu Basin.
“There is obviously strong synergy between Rata restaurant and the work of the Trust and we want to participate and use our brand to promote its projects,” says Fleur Caulton. “Our catchline is ‘Uniquely Southern’ which signals our absolute love for the south and its environment and that particularly includes native trees like the Rata.”
Rata restaurant’s feature wall is a stunning image of the rata in its Wakatipu landscape at the head of the lake and the goal is to help heighten appreciation locally of the significance of the species.
“We think this is a good starting point and we expect great support from both our local customers and visitors who like the idea of helping preserve this important part of New Zealand’s heritage. The Trust has made a lot of progress nationally in planting both pohutukawa and Rata trees, as well as co-ordinating a range of maintenance and protection programmes and promoting public education but it needs on going assistance.”
Project Crimson has a significant focus in schools throughout the country encouraging children to take pride in their environment and New Zealand’s native flora.
“We hope to use our excellent community contacts to get schools in our region involved and raise awareness of Project Crimson’s fantastic work as a leading conservation organisation,” says Caulton.
The Melanoma Foundation and the work they do is a cause that is incredibly close to Josh’s heart after losing his dear father, Roger Emett to melanoma in 2011, one year after having been diagnosed with Stage 1V metastatic melanoma.
“ A month prior to his diagnosis Dad had been tramping and kayaking in the Abel Tasman National Park and was feeling fit and healthy. He had also been my wing-man when I competed in the Coast-to-Coast, and his love of life and sense of adventure made him my hero.
Dad was a farmer and had spent his childhood, teenage and middle years exposed to large amounts of sun with very little protection from the harsh rays. He had clear, dark skin and black hair, and like most of his generation, in the early years especially, he didn’t apply sun-block and only wore a hat in the height of summer. He loved the beach and fishing and was happy outdoors.
His dark skin became increasingly dotted with moles – large and small. He was mole mapped for at least 10 years prior to his melanoma knowing that his skin was suffering the bad effects of sun exposure. His dermatologist removed atypical moles and burnt others off during his yearly then six monthly checks. The one that got him was a tiny mole found on top of his head, under a beautiful thick head of hair, and had been there long enough and was deep enough, that it had spread throughout the rest of his body.
Expert advice and care from skin specialists here and in Australia could not prevent his death, and we miss him every day of our lives. The Melanoma Foundation took on a new meaning for our family as we learnt about the hard work being done by health researchers’ and medical science to find a cure for this disease. My greatest wish, and one close to my heart, is to help the Foundation in its charity work and in the prevention of this cancer which claims the lives of many New Zealanders each year”.
Location scout and photographer Darren (Daz) Caulton has an intense passion for Queenstown and its surrounding landscape, expressed through his exceptional images which capture superbly the “Uniquely Southern” Rata philosophy.
Talk to Daz about his work and quickly discover here is a perfectionist dedicated to producing world class, quality work.
The central feature of Rata’s relaxed décor is Daz’s work, a captivating image of a forest of Rata trees which decorates an entire wall and is so realistic “you want to climb into it.”
But true to form Daz took a long time to get the perfect shot.
“It took a lot of searching to find the right spot in the Routeburn in Mount Aspiring Park. I wasn’t happy with the first images and it was only after considerable hunting around that I finally discovered the ideal Rata forest in Sugarloaf Pass. It has certainly got the depth and colour I was looking for and I am excited about the result.”
Daz grew up in Queenstown and is recognised internationally as a “locations guru” because of his intimate knowledge of the South Island. He is aware of many secret locations and has been responsible for finding the ideal spot for a range of television commercials and movies during the past 20 years.
“I love the job. It takes me to some amazing places and it is a privilege to do it. Some days I can be sitting on a glacier having lunch, others on a mountain top. It’s always varied and you never take the area for granted. I have been incredibly lucky to develop my passion around my work.”
Daz provides a range of changing, contemporary images for the Rata website reflecting the Rata lifestyle.