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Council Finalises Proposal For One Tree Hill

Council Finalises Proposal For One Tree Hill Planting

Auckland City’s Parks and Streetscape Services has finalised its proposal for planting the summit of One Tree Hill following the removal of the Monterey pine last October.

During the decision making process, public opinion, arboricultural, archaeological, cultural and landscape issues were taken into consideration. The options relating to species, source, size and single or multiple planting were refined to a single, preferred option.

The proposal will be considered by the Parks and Recreation Committee on February 23, before being ratified by full council at its March meeting. Once approved, it will form the basis of a resource consent which will be publicly notified, allowing those interested to make submissions. A final decision will be made by independent planning commissioners.

The option recommends the planting of pohutukawa seedlings this season, followed in successive seasons by totara, as a secondary species. The trees would be surrounded by a protective shelter-belt of mixed native shrubs in order to enhance the chances of their survival.

Some of the pohutukawa seedlings would be those which self-seeded in the base of the pine and were saved when it was felled. Their survival in such inhospitable conditions is regarded by some as a tohu, or sign from nature that they should be included in the new planting.

Also to be planted will be pohutukawa seedlings sourced from high quality parent stock from the local area. These seedlings will have a high chance of survival in the harsh conditions, and have good long-term growth and establishment prospects.

The totara cuttings, taken from nearby trees, are not sufficiently advanced for planting this year, and will be planted once the shelter is established.

Chairman of the Parks and Recreation Committee, Bill Christian, says the preferred option addresses the strong cultural and historical links that both species have with the summit.

“The proposal allows for a process of natural selection to occur. It is envisaged that through this selection process, the sustainability of the new tree at the summit will be ensured. In finalising this proposal, we took into account the views of local iwi, arborists, heritage experts, the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, the Cornwall Park Trust Board, and the several hundred people who wrote to the Mayor and myself.

“A number of other planting options were considered. They included planting only pohutukawa seedlings and transplanting a semi-mature tree. However, the option of planting two species and allowing a process of self-selection is preferred, because it addresses important historical and cultural issues,” says Councillor Christian.

“Transplanting a larger tree was not considered to be the best solution because of the low chances of its survival in the exposed summit conditions. It was also felt there would be difficulties transplanting the tree within the limited planting area (six metres in diameter) given the protection required for the valuable archaeological features.

“There are also no locally-sourced specimens of suitable form and size available, and the costs of supporting and nurturing a semi-mature tree under such conditions would be high. Doubts have also been expressed that a semi-mature tree transplanted to the site would acquire the same cultural significance as a seedling that grows and matures across several generations.”

Auckland City is keen to replant the summit late this winter or early next spring. In anticipation, Council arborists have sourced plant stock of both pohutukawa and totara from the immediate maunga (hill) and the surrounding area. This stock has been selected for its quality and cultural appropriateness. However, because the pine had to be felled earlier than had been originally anticipated, the seedlings and cuttings are not mature enough to endure planting at the site.

“The preferred option entails a planting period extending over at least two seasons, rather than being just a single event. The sometimes dry and windy conditions on the summit will require the pohutukawa and totara seedlings to be carefully looked after if they are to survive,” says Councillor Christian.

ENDS

For further information contact: Cr Bill Christian, Chairman, Parks and Recreation Committee. Tel: 527 8648 or 025 814 721.

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