Greerton colouring up Tauranga for winter

The Pacific Coast Village – Animal World tree. Photo: Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

An explosion of colour has appeared in Greerton Village this week as yarn bombing returns to brighten up the winter days ahead.

Under the theme ‘Colour my World’, creativity abounds as knitters and crocheters break out vibrant colours after the unsettled year of 2020.

Many of the famous cherry blossom trees around the Greerton Village are no longer naked but are now dressed, with help from Greerton Lions and Greerton Mainstreet members, resulting in a colourful array of trunks along Chadwick and Cameron Roads.

This year bombers range from five years to 90 years of age, with local schools participating once more and grannies enjoying assistance from their grandchildren.

Flowers created by Karen Wood. Photo: Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

Creating tree ‘sleeves’ takes a lot of planning, with Greerton Mainstreet Manager Sally Benning and yarn bombing coordinator Carol Power, who is contracted by the Greerton Community Association, beginning event preparation well in advance.

Once the year’s theme is chosen, and knitters and yarn bombers choose the charity they want to support, then the creating begins.

Marilyn Mouat, Carol Power and Greerton Village Mainstreet Manager Sally Benning. Photo: John Borren.

Local retailer Marilyn Mouat, owner of MD’s Leatherworks in Chadwick Rd has been involved for the last six or seven years. She’s knitted as well as been the drop-off and pick-up point for the yarn. Last year she knitted the stunning Edmonds Cookbook scene as part of the ‘Aotearoa: What it means to me’ theme.

“I’ve done a bicycle, Thomas the Tank Engine, an octopus for ‘Under the Sea’, and I did Cinderella in blue coming out of a tree,” says Marilyn.

The Greerton Village Community Association’s yarn bombing event began in 2013 with 16 decorated cherry blossom trees.

Belinda Sands. Photo: John Borren.

“Belinda Sands started the yarn bombing with Greerton Guerrillas,” says Carol.

Belinda, who is also the owner of Greerton Lotto has knitted all her life and noticed that yarn bombing was becoming a popular social media phenomenon in Europe. After discussion with the then Greerton Mainstreet Manager, a local version was organised.

“People thought we were quite crazy but we just have the perfect cherry trees in Greerton,” says Belinda.

Word spread and many others joined in. Nowadays, groups or individuals are responsible for one or more trees each, with public voting to find an annual winner, and groups selecting a local charity they are fundraising for.

The Te Puke Kiwicoast Lions Club tree. Photo: Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

Themes from previous years have included ‘Depict Your Favourite Song’, ‘Children’s Books’, and ‘Aotearoa: What it means to me’.

Numerous subjects have been knitted into life over the last decade, from pukekos, flamingos, gumboots, lollies, NZ scenery, Edmonds Cook Book, and Marmite jars to name a few.  Causing a mild controversy last year because of the upcoming General Election was the depiction of Jacinda Adern as part of ‘Aotearoa: What it means to me’.

Some of the knitting in the Ruru’s Tea Party tree, raising awareness about Assistance Dogs New Zealand Trust. Photo: Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

Birds and flowers created by the Nutty Knitters. Photo: Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

Carol says the artworks are becoming more three-dimensional.

“It’s been a fantastic year. There are over 30 new sleeves, and some of the trees this year are designed so you can be a part of it for a photo.

“Greerton has the best yarn bombing in New Zealand now because of the real intricate and 3-D designs that people are doing.”

A creation by the Greerton Village Community Yarn Bombing Group in support of Blind and Low Vision New Zealand. Photo: Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

The year of click-clacking, nattering and knitting culminates in the final set-up day. Usually this is a rain-free Sunday in late June or early July, with groups dotted along Chadwick Rd decorating their selected tree. After a health and safety check, people are up the top of ladders wrapping their creation around the trunks and branches.

The Greerton Village Community Association is celebrating a decade of yarn bombing in the village, and inviting the public to join in through July and August by voting for their favourite tree.

The Pacific Coast Village – Aquatic World tree. Photo: Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

The public is invited to join in through July and August by voting for their favourite tree and associated charity.

For the first time this year there will be cash prizes in four categories. The winning trees will take away a total of $2750 for their chosen NZ charities thanks to the generous sponsorship of Crockford Real Estate t/a Ray White Greerton and Greerton Village Mainstreet.

This year’s judge Allan Smith has been an active member of the Bay of Plenty creative arts sector and as well as creating his own art he has been a teacher of art, photography and performing arts for many years. He is looking forward to judging the installations.

The butterfly in the Arohanui Art and Education Trust tree. Photo: Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

On Saturday July 31 between 10.30am and noon in front of the Greerton Library, cultural groups and choirs will be ‘colouring up’ Greerton Village with song and dance displays celebrating the yarn installations.

The winning tree will take away a significant amount of money for their chosen NZ charity thanks to the generous sponsorship of Crockford Real Estate t/a Ray White Greerton.

The trees are on full display now in Greerton Village until August 29, in perfect time for the school holidays.

Manual voting is available at six locations in Greerton Village – look out for the window posters to see where, or to vote online on the Greerton Village Yarn Bombing Facebook page. Voting closes at 10am on Friday August 20, and winners will be announced by August 24.


The Pyes Pa Junior School tree, supporting SPCA. Photo: Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

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