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Tree-mendous: New plantings for Arbor Day

Thirty-two new trees were planted in Greytown on Saturday. PHOTO/SUPPLIED

JOHN LAZO-RON
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Thirty new trees have been planted at O’Connor’s Bush at Greytown Memorial Park as part of the town’s Arbor Day celebrations.

Along with the trees planted at O’Connor’s Bush, one of the last remnants of lowland forest in Wairarapa, two larger established trees were planted near the entrance to Greytown Cemetery at the weekend.

Electricity company Powerco teamed up with Wairarapa arborists, Arb Innovations, to plant the trees as part of Powerco’s Replant for Tomorrow initiative.

Replant for Tomorrow is a programme that plants trees to replace ones removed to keep power lines clear.

Close to 70,000 people lose power each year because of trees interfering with Powerco’s electricity network.

When overgrown, trees interfere with power lines and make it difficult for crews to restore power. High winds and storms also blow branches into power lines, causing close to a quarter of all Powerco’s power cuts.

It was the first time Replant for Tomorrow had come to Wairarapa.

“Replant for Tomorrow is more than a tree-planting initiative. It’s our way of helping to redress the fact that in order to help keep our customers’ power supply reliable and safe, we sometimes need to remove trees if they are too close to our power poles and lines,” Powerco general manager of customers Stuart Dickson said.

“We plant new trees in our communities, well away from power lines, to help bring back the environmental balance.

“We’re focusing on Greytown this time, but in future years, we’ll look at other sites around Wairarapa.”

Arb Innovations business development manager Richard Wanhill said the business was excited about the partnership with Powerco and the Greytown community.

“It’s an opportunity to plant more trees in the community that we live and work in,” he said.

“As arborists, we spend our careers pruning and removing trees. Planting trees in the South Wairarapa allows us to give something back.”

South Wairarapa mayor Alex Beijen was unable to make the planting but said it was great to see the collaboration with the community and corporate New Zealand in Replant for Tomorrow.

“I understand they are interested in extending this planting, and we will assist wherever possible, both in Greytown and other areas,” he said.

Dickson thanked the Greytown Community Board and Greytown Tree Action Group, who worked together to identify the sites in Greytown that would benefit from this initiative and liaised with the council.

Greytown was the first town in New Zealand to recognise Arbor Day in 1890.

It was organised by a spiritualist and owner of the Wairarapa Standard, William Nation, who lived in Greytown for many years.

Nation raised the money for the festival by staging various entertainments and arranged the planting of 150 trees beside the road to Featherston.

A ceremony took place on July 3, 1890, and the day was declared a holiday in Greytown.

More than 800 attendees gathered to hear speeches and a brass band and plant trees, some of which were still standing beside the road today.

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