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Sign Unveiled Honouring Human Heritage Of Canal Road Trees And Hīkoi Called

At 6am this morning a naming ceremony was held at the Canal Road native tree site in Avondale, Auckland.

Arborist and long-term tree sitter at the site Zane Wedding says, “The naming is a vision of what we want the Canal Road properties to become - a public reserve and arboretum with these magnificent, old and rare native trees for future generations to enjoy.”

Kaumatua Rihari Nahi of Ngāti Whātua led the proceedings in which a timber sign was unveiled which acknowledged three of the families who had a part in caring for the stand of 100 year old native trees which includes rare kawaka and black maire.

The large sign was erected near the entrance to the properties from 52-58 Canal Road and declares the land the: BURGESS, RAYMOND, LEE COMMUNITY NGAHERE.

“The Burgess, Raymond and Lee whānau are three of the significant families who have played a role in acting as guardians of these native rākau. Walter Burgess planted them in the 1920s. From the 1960s until recently the Raymond family cared for the trees, and 11 weeks ago Avondale resident William Lee stood in front of machinery to stop any more trees from being cut down.”

On 8 July this year trees began being felled on the land owned by David and Paul Raymond as part of a sale agreement to an unknown developer which they say required all the trees to be removed. Since that day dozens of activists, arborists, Avondale locals and other Aucklanders have sat in trees and stayed at the site to ward off chainsaws. Today is the 81st day of the peaceful civil disobedience.

Today’s gathering also gave a name to the movement that has galvanized at Canal Road and which is calling for a nation wide reinstatement of general tree protection. The name of the movement is: Mana Rākau.

Following a less than satisfactory response from the Auckland Council this week the group is organising a public rally and hīkoi to the Auckland Council to take place on Thursday 1 October and gathering at Albert Park from 11:00am

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