Topic: Greerton Village Flowering Cherry Trees (est 1963)
The iconic flowering cherry trees in Greerton Village have long been a drawcard to the area each spring for the Greerton Village Cherry Blossom Festival. Along with the Village Green, formal gardens, natural rock mosaic walls, and specially designed seating, lighting, rubbish bins, bollards and barriers, they enhance the Art Nouveau theme of the area and complement the yellow and green colour palette used throughout the village.
Greerton has always had a significant horticultural base, especially fruit trees. The suburb is renowned for the development of the Golden Queen Peach and was the first area in Tauranga to be planted in kiwifruit.
The Greerton flowering cherry trees are a variety called Prunus x yedoensis 'Awanui' (Flowering Cherry) but also known as Yoshino Cherry and Toyko Cherry. They are upright, vase shaped trees with attractive layers of branches and ornamental bark.
In spring the bare branches are smothered with beautiful pale shell-pink, large single blossoms that open to fragrant, single white flowers. Ideal viewing times are from August through to November. The green serrated leaves that follow the blossoms create a dark green foliage that changes colour to a golden yellow in autumn before the leaves fall.
The first flowering cherry trees in Greerton were planted in c1963. In 1971 Mr George Sherwin wrote: "We brought out our own works programme and laid down footpaths, sealed roads and planted kowhais and cherry trees. We used to go out on working bees to plant the trees. The town committee carried on for six years until a poll of the citizens made the decision to amalgamate with the Tauranga Borough Council to form the City of Tauranga. This was in 1963 when the population of Greerton had blossomed to 6000."
In the early 1990s a project led by the Greerton Business Association and wider community (funded and facilitated by the then Tauranga District Council and the Community Employment Group) was undertaken to address future needs of Greerton. This identified a number of issues resulting in the preparation of the 1996 Greerton Village Master Plan developed by the Isthmus Urban Design Group.
As part of the upgrade of Greerton Village an extensive planting of cherry trees occurred in 1998. These stretched along Chadwick Road and down the side roads.
The last major stage of the Master Plan was the Greerton Village Green which was officially opened in April 2006.
Another major development was the opening of the new Greerton Library (Te Ao Marama Ki Tutarawananga) on 15 July 2016. Tutarawananga is a centre of learning with an influence and importance spreading far beyond its local area. Greerton Library is also a centre of learning, and its Influence spreads far beyond its immediate location.
The character of Greerton has been established through the historic and recent planting of flowering cherry trees and it is intended that this will be maintained and enhanced through the continued planting and upkeep of this beautiful species.
Greerton File (Tauranga City Libraries: Research Collections, Vertical File).
Sunday Mirror (1971, May 2). Greerton - Earlier Days (pp. 11-12).
Tauranga City Council documents.