On 28 July 2015, the Minister for Territory and Municipal Services, Shane Rattenbury, represented the Chief Minister and accompanied His Excellency Dr Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, President of the United Republic of Tanzania and Her Excellency Mama Salma Kikwete as they planted a Real yellowwood tree (Podocarpus latifolius) in Central Valley.
The Podocarpus latifolius or Real yellowwood tree is a tree found in Tanzania and parts of southern and eastern Africa. It is a slow growing tree but very long lived and can grow to around 30 metres.
The Real yellowwood tree can withstand frost and in the past was highly sought after for its hard timber which does not chip easily. The wood was used for furniture, floors, railway sleepers and wagon boxes. Yellowwood furniture commands high prices today because of its rarity.
Minister Rattenbury said, "Trees form a unique part of Canberra's identity. The city's designer, Chicago Architect Walter Burley Griffin, designed this city to be a 'city in the landscape' and as the President has just witnessed from Dairy Farmers Hill, the city, the parliamentary precinct and indeed our suburbs are all nestled snugly in our landscape.
"It is also fitting this planting has occurred just as we have wrapped up a successful Canberra Tree Week and National Tree Day celebrating the importance of trees in our city."
Ceremonial trees planted from around the world
The National Arboretum Canberra is home to over 44,000 trees from more than one hundred nations. Many Australian and international leaders and public figures have planted ceremonial trees at the National Arboretum, including Their Royal Highnesses, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge; His Excellency Jose Ramos-Horta, President of the Republic of Timor-Leste; renowned Australian author, Mr Thomas Keneally and Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark.
Through ceremonial tree plantings and other special events, the National Arboretum Canberra builds partnerships with local, national and international organisations, individuals and communities to further its role in global tree conservation and research.