Totara, Kahikatea, Matai, Hinau etc grew well on the old river silt beds with dry Totara forest on the boulder areas. Most of these forest areas were either utilised or burnt over following the Small Farm Settlement of 1854. Some pioneers had bought acorns with them from England and the first oak trees were planted in 1860.
In 1890 the first Arbor Day in New Zealand was held in Greytown. This stimulated further plantings. After World War I, trees were planted in the Greytown Soldiers Memorial Park in memory of those who died. Trees were also planted in the hospital grounds.
In 1935 the Greytown Beautifying Society was formed. In 1939 the Society organised the planting of American Red Oaks to form an avenue on Hospital Drive. From the early 1960's the Society has helped to save historic trees from destruction and were prominent in helping to keep Arbor Day alive.
In 1988 the Greytown Borough Council gazetted over 60 trees to be protected as a schedule in the District Plan. Later, the South Wairarapa District Council became the responsible authority. 1990 was the centenary of the first Arbor Day. About this time a volunteer group was formed to protect the remnant of indigenous forest known as "O'Connor's Bush". They are known as "Friends of the Park". Since 2007 the Greytown Community Board Tree Advisory Committee has been set up to help oversee all matters pertaining to Greytown's trees.
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The Historic and Notable trees of Greytown, New Zealand
by Neill Cooper, QSM, MNZIF