Native Tree Protesters Turn Contractors Away
Two hundred locals and supporters stopped contractors from cutting down native trees at Canal Road in Avondale this morning.
Protester Steve Abel says an anonymous tip-off informed the group that contractors would arrive today.
Today was the first time contractors have tried to cut down trees since they felled a tree that almost Mr Abel on 21 July.
"Our goal was to stop contractors and give Mayor Goff the time to start an urgent discussion with the property owners to acquire the land," he says. "We put the call out, people came, and people power saved these irreplaceable trees."
Mr Abel says the group is also calling for political parties to bring back general tree protection.
Half of the original 100-year old trees remain, including two rare black maire and a kawaka.
Abel says protesters arrived at 4:30 am this morning.
Ten climbers sat in trees, four people locked themselves onto felled trees, and three locked themselves to two half-tonne barrels, he says.
A dozen police, twenty security guards and a large digger on a trailer arrived around 7:45 am.
One group of protesters blocked Police from getting on to the property, while another sat on the truck and digger.
Shortly after, local filmmaker Ken Sparks attached himself onto the digger with a steel pipe lock.
By 9:36 am, contractors decided to cancel the days work.
They negotiated with protesters and Police to allow the driver to take the digger back to their yard.
Police trespassed Mr Sparks but did not arrest him.
Another group of protesters blocked Canal Road as the digger left to ensure it didn't try and get onto the native tree site.
The majority of Police then left.
Mr Abel says the protest ended with a karakia at 10:30am by Ngati Whatua Kaumatua Rihari Nahi.
Some supporters and climbers remain on-site in case contractors return.