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One Tree Hill Pine To Be Felled

Auckland City has today announced that the ailing Monterey pine on One Tree Hill is to be taken down.

Contractors and council staff have begun preparations for the removal which will begin at first light on Thursday October 26. As part of the preparations prior to the removal of the tree a karakia will be held.

The road to the summit has been closed and access will be restricted to staff working on the removal until the operation is complete.

Aucklanders wishing to watch the removal will be able to view it from the base of the hill, including Twin Oak Drive and the lower section of Summit Road.

The tree will be dismantled in sections, with a helicopter being used to lift the branches of the canopy from the summit to an area at the base of the hill. The trunk will then be removed, piece by piece, using a helicopter and a crane.

Parts of the trunk will be made available to iwi for carving, and also to the Cornwall Park Visitors Centre. The remainder of the trunk will be stored until a decision is made about its use.

Auckland City Mayor, Chris Fletcher, says the condition of the tree has been carefully monitored since June 1998.

“We have all been aware for some time that the tree’s prognosis was not good. The Council has done everything in its power to preserve the tree; we’ve sought advice from a range of arboricultural and engineering experts, erected a protective caging and monitored its condition regularly - daily over the last two weeks. However, despite all these efforts, in the interests of the public’s safety, the tree has to be removed,” she says.

Over the last month there has been a significant deterioration in the tree’s condition, caused by recent high winds and earlier attacks. Auckland City arborists were concerned that this movement could grow exponentially which would further damage the trunk of the tree.

In the last month a vertical split has opened in the tree’s trunk, indicating structural damage and that the tree was now in an unpredictable state.

Under these circumstances it was considered that this posed a great risk for the safety of the public and therefore the tree will be removed under emergency management provisions, said Mrs Fletcher.

“When it was first installed, the cable system supporting the pine tree was designed to restrain the tree in high winds. It was not designed to support the tree if it became unstable but recently the cables have begun to support the tree and not merely limit extreme movement,” she said.

Mrs Fletcher says: “The One Tree Hill pine is sentimental not only to Aucklanders. It is considered by the entire country, and even internationally, to be an icon. It will be missed, but now the important thing is ensuring a robust process of consultation to determine what will replace it for future generations.”

ENDS

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