James Wells was born in Blantyre in 1859 in Shuttle Row, Low Blantyre. Despite having famous neighbours in David Livingstone’s family, the Wells family up and left Blantyre in 1865, forsaking the mills and seeking adventure and a more prosperous life in New Zealand.
Settling in Whangarei, the family carved out their own new lives and fared well. In 1941, when James was in his 82nd year, it was recorded that between the years of 1920 and 1941, he had manually planted 2,000,000 trees in Wellington, the capital city of New Zealand. He had committed much of his adult life to forestry and making Wellington more green. This foresight for the environment came at a time before morals about tree felling, before protesting about environmental issues and it was his hard work and effort, that played a large part within older parts of Wellington, as to why the parks and green spaces look as they do today.
In the following decades, it’s unknown how many new plants sprung up from the seeds of these 2 million trees, but it is safe to assume that there would now be many more millions.