Greerton Yarn Bombers celebrate Aotearoa

The First Timers team assembling their masterpiece.

‘Aotearoa: What it Means to me’ is the theme for this year’s Greerton Village Yarn Bombing.

Greerton Mainstreet Manager Sally Benning says it’s an appropriate theme “considering how lucky and proud we are to be New Zealanders living here” with the pandemic across the world.

“In August last year the theme was set with no knowledge of COVID-19 and how it would put our country into lockdown.”

Trees around the Greerton Village have now been ‘dressed’, with help from Greerton Lions, resulting in a colourful array of trunks along Chadwick and Cameron Roads.

“They are depicting New Zealand icons,” says Sally. “Things that we connect to in New Zealand, including our very own Prime Minister.”

The knitted and crocheted masterpieces celebrate iconic New Zealand lollies, foods, sports, culture, wildlife, events and people. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern features on one of the larger trees.

“This tree celebrates some incredible leadership, and the kindness shown to the nation through the COVID period,” says Kiwicoast Lions member Michelle Cliff.

“During lockdown I thought it would be really good to do something just to celebrate and to confirm what we’ve all been going through. And to honour the direction that was shown. I personally really appreciated it. So it’s saying: ‘hey thanks’ and: ‘good job’.”

New Zealand town icons are depicted, including the Sky Tower, a L&P bottle, the Mount, a kiwifruit, a big bike, a big apple, a carrot, a gumboot, a bull, a kiwi, golden shears, a daffodil, a beehive, a crayfish, a doughnut, a border collie, a takahe, and a brown trout.

Rugby features with Arohanui Art and Education Trust creating a rugby player for their ‘Aroha of NZ’ tree and the Rugby Tots Tauranga team, who are supporting Homes of Hope creating ‘Where Rugby Begins’ which stretches between two trees.

“It was really good to have something to do during lockdown,” says Julie Kitchen from Pacific Coast Village. Her team created a masterpiece about manuka honey.

A giant Marmite jar, pukekos, the Edmonds Cookbook, and ‘Aotearoa – The Long White Cloud’ can be found on other trees.

Some schools are also involved, including Tauranga Special Primary School with ‘Kaka Bird’, Te Puke High School and ‘Multicultural Love’ and Greerton Village Primary School with ‘Maori Gods’. They are raising funds for Make a Wish Tauranga, Breast Cancer Tauranga, and Kids Can respectively.

“There will be $2000 prize money in total,” says Sally Benning, who always looks forward to seeing the Greerton Village trees coloured up for winter. “Some will go to local charities and some will go to the creators and knitters of these installations.”

With this COVID-19 year being a significant time in New Zealand history, the public is encouraged to take selfies.

“We would love you to place them on Instagram and Facebook to show the world how proud we are to be Kiwis. While you are here you can vote for your favourite tree in various shops around the village,” says yarn bombing coordinator Carol Power.

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 11, in perfect time for the school holidays.

Manual voting is available at eight locations in Greerton Village – look out for the window posters to see where, or to vote online on the Greerton Village Facebook page. Voting closes at 10am on August 14, and winners will be announced on August 17.




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