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Strong seedlings poised for One Tree Hill

7 February 2005

Strong seedlings poised for planting on One Tree Hill

The nine trees selected for planting on the summit of One Tree Hill are healthy and ready for planting as soon as treaty claims are resolved and growing conditions are favourable.

The City was granted resource consent in 2001, following extensive public consultation, to plant a small grove of young pohutukawa and totara on the site. Auckland City postponed the planting as Ngati Whatua declined to participate until treaty claims regarding One Tree Hill were resolved with the Crown.

Council arborists believe a grove planting of young trees offers the greatest chance of survival. The objective is still to ultimately have one significant landmark tree on the summit in the future.

Because of the harsh environmental conditions on the summit, the trees will be surrounded by a protective shelter-belt of mixed native shrubs to enhance their chances of survival.

The resource consent has very specific conditions relating to how planting will happen, for example how many trees will be planted and their locations.

The young trees - six pohutukawa and three totara - include several pohutukawa seedlings taken from the trunk of the former lone pine tree located on the summit. The other trees include pohutukawa and totara grown from seeds and cuttings taken from trees close to One Tree Hill Domain.

“Sadly the summit of One Tree Hill has been the site of numerous protests and attacks for the last 150 odd years. The planned new native plantings will recognise the history of the mountain and symbolise a new beginning,” says Mayor Dick Hubbard.

“I’m going to do everything I can as Mayor of Auckland to ensure the young trees are planted before Waitangi Day next year,” he says.

In 1852, a great totara, which graced the summit, was tragically destroyed – supposedly vandalised by a party of European workers as a form of protest. Successive attempts were made to re-establish a tree on the summit. Sir John Logan Campbell planted a group of five Monterey pines (Pinus radiata) to shelter native trees during the 1870s and over the years only one of the pines survived.

In September 1999, a family of protesters attempted to fell the remaining Monterey pine. The damage included cuts up to 28 centimetres deep in an area not damaged by a previous chainsaw attack in 1994. Damage was inflicted to around 45 percent of the trunk cross-section and 88 percent of the trunk circumference. The life expectancy of the tree was estimated to be only three years.

The pine was officially felled on 26 October 2000 as the tree had become unstable and was a danger to the public.


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