Greening of Napier
Planning Started: 2010
Planting Started: May 2010
Completed: May 2014
The “Greening of Napier” was a Napier City Council project aimed at enhancing the cityscape with more tree planting along major roads and open spaces.
The project was carried out over four seasons with the first trees planted in Westminster Avenue and the southern Prebensen Drive area.
The pohutukawa cultivar “Maori Princess”, a variety with an upright trunk, adds further colour along Napier’s iconic coastal strip – from Bluff Hill south to Ellison Street. Synonymous with the New Zealand seaside, pohutukawa were the late councillor Tony Reid’s tree of choice for the Marine Parade reserve.
In 2011, the programme continued in the southwest of the city, with scarlet oaks and upright oaks and hornbeams planted between Church Road and Prebensen Drive and on the Church Road green belt. Upright oaks and hornbeams were also chosen to grace the length of Gloucester Street. The median strip on Kennedy Road was planted in upright oaks and coastal banksia.
Napier’s newest residential subdivision, Parklands, also benefitted from the project with a selection of trees planted on the Orotu Drive greenbelt.
The former lagoon’s harsh growing conditions called for varieties tolerant of wet and drought conditions. The mix of hardy native and exotic species– river birch, a rata and pohutawaka hybrid, pin oaks, great white cherry trees, coastal banksia and Norfolk Island hibiscus – is aimed at attracting native bird life.
Six pohutukawa were planted at Pandora, extending the native planting theme from around the Ahuriri waterline where there are a number of specimen “New Zealand Christmas trees”.
The third planting season targeted several areas close to the city centre. A natural hybrid of pohutukawa and northern rata, Metrosideros “Mistral” – a variety with a tidy, compact and upright habit – was chosen for the western side of McGrath Street. Jacaranda trees planted at the Balmoral end of Wellesley Road pick up a theme for jacarandas on the western side of downtown Napier.
Thirty young Norfolk pines were planted in Beacons Reserve, on the seaward side of the Rotary pathway between The Esplanade and Ferguson Street South. The area between the pathway and the railway tracks was planted mainly with Pittosporum crassifolium and pohutukawa.
The Greening of Napier draws on a mix of native and exotic varieties to ensure autumn colour, some year-round foliage and a diversity of form. Upright deciduous varieties are chosen for medians and berms to avoid blocking winter sun and issues with branches encroaching onto traffic lanes or private property.
Where possible, the landscaping team chose large specimens for their impact. A digger was used to form holes for the largest trees, but a two-person team plants most by hand.
The last plantings were the 12 Metrosideros Mistral (a Rata/Pohutukawa hybrid) trees on the northern side of Carlyle Street. The trees were placed in specifically designed planter boxes, similar to those found at Auckland’s Britomart, as underground infrastructure in the vicinity made in-ground planting too problematic.