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Pear tree propagation project comes to fruition

9 JUNE 2008

Media release

Pear tree propagation project comes to fruition

Pear trees propagated from original heritage varieties at Henderson’s Cranwell Park are to be planted in a number of sites around Waitakere to ensure their long-term survival.

The trees at Cranwell Park are part of original plantings made by the Cranwell family who lived on Buscomb Ave over 100 years ago.

There are approximately 40 heritage pear trees to be planted in historically significant sites around Henderson, starting with Tui Glen, Cranwell Park and the old Corban Winery Estate, and Harbourview/Orangihina Park in Te Atatu. Trees will also be donated to Oratia Primary and to New Lynn’s Sustainable Living Centre as a way of demonstrating the close connection between the eco-city vision of sustainability and self-sufficiency.

Orcharding, viticulture and farming became the predominant land uses in Waitakere at the turn of the 20th century, after land had been cleared for the area’s early industries, such as timber milling, gum digging and ceramics. In fact, Waitakere was known as Auckland’s “fruit bowl” up until the 1960s, when demand for housing started to fragment the existing orchards and vineyards. However, there is growing interest today in heirloom/heritage varieties of trees and a number of orchards have developed niche markets for these older varieties.

“The late Gordon Sunde, a former councillor whose family is synonymous with orcharding and viticulture in this city, raised the importance of preserving and propagating the pear trees in Cranwell Park and Parrs Park as a tangible link with Waitakere’s orcharding past. That is a vision that we are proud to honour today,” says Councillor Judy Lawley, chairman of the council’s Culture and Community Committee, which today gave the go-ahead for the plantings.

“The preservation of these trees on public land means that they can continue to be relevant to the community today.”

Robert Cranwell, an English immigrant who came to New Zealand in 1862, planted one of his original orchards, the “Pomaria Orchards”, immediately north-east of the Henderson township between 1889 and 1891. A hundred acres of apple, pear, peach, plum, fig, apricot, orange and lemon trees were planted. In 1906, Mr Cranwell left each of his children 25 acres of frontage onto Lincoln Road. He died in 1916. A grand-daughter, Dr Lucy Cranwell, became an internationally-renowned botanist, who was for many years botanist to the Auckland War Memorial Museum.


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