Plant a tree, grow a dream

Photo: Nikki South.

Most international travelers return home inspired by encounters, experiences, people, food, music and adventures.

Not Geoff Brann. “We’ve travelled extensively, and every time we return home we think, ‘yeah! We must plant more trees’.”

That’s because when he sees what other global cities and towns are doing with trees, he gets excited. “And we need trees,” says Geoff.

This man doesn’t have veins, he has roots. Trees are in his genes – planted by a grandfather. The grandfather planted trees in New Plymouth, helped create the woodland wonderland that is Pukekura Park.

And the grandson has kept the faith – planting stands of his favourite tree, redwoods or sequoias, at his former farm in Paengaroa.

“I suppose I have been planting trees for 50 years,” says the retired farmer, and 22 years of those years were at McLaren Falls Park as a member of the Tauranga Tree Society.

“Look at all the trees at McLaren Falls Park,” adds Geoff. “Virtually every one has been planted by the Society, and 250 trees a year.”

When he drives into the park after it has been painted in all its autumn hues, it’s even more special. “You will see a grand-looking tree, something really big, you will tell yourself that you planted that.” It’s a wonderful sense of pride and giving.

“When we started 20 years ago, they had 15,000 people a year through the park,” says Geoff. “Now it must be getting close to 200,000. It’s a terrific feeling - seeing people there appreciating the place and the trees.”

But while the name society suggests a substantial body of like-minded people, the Tauranga Tree Society is just seven active members out of a total 20 members.

“We’re all retired – farmers and foresters and people with a fascination for trees,” explains Geoff, but they’re dropping off the branches one by one.

So this is a plea for some new blood, an encouragement to one or two new members to join the magnificent seven at McLaren Falls on Monday afternoon to plant trees, label trees, tend to trees and carry out nursery work. You just need a spare Monday afternoon and a fascination for trees.

“It’s always been a pretty stable number, but we could do with more,” says Geoff. “What do we offer? The satisfaction of being in a park, creating a park, and the opportunity to go back and see what’s been achieved and what you have achieved.

“And after they have planted, grown, labelled and tended trees, they have a cup of tea.”

And they talk about trees, so join the conversation and join the Tree Society working party. Call Dave on: (07) 579 2580 or Stephen on: (07) 544 4733.