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HomeNew ZealandCouncil 'gutted' by costly attack on 100-plus year old tree

Council ‘gutted’ by costly attack on 100-plus year old tree

The Waimakariri District Council says it was devastated to discover one of Waikuku's hundred-plus year old pine trees on Park Terrace appears to have been targeted.

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The Waimakariri District Council says it was devastated to discover one of Waikuku’s 100-plus year old pine trees on Park Terrace appears to have been targeted.
Photo: Supplied/ Waimakariri District Council

The suspected poisoning of a historic tree may rack up a significant bill for a Canterbury council.

The Waimakariri District Council was contacted about a month ago by a ratepayer concerned with the state of one of Waikuku’s hundred-plus year old pine trees on Park Terrace.

Closer inspection had since found about 20 holes drilled into the trunk where the council suggested poison had likely been poured.

The council’s community projects officer Mike Kwant said it was highly unlikely the tree would survive and it would not be cheap to remove.

“I haven’t had it [quoted] but you’d be talking not much change out of $10,000 I’d suggest, by the time that’s removed and sectioned and taken offsite.”

Earlier this month, police were notified more than 200 pine trees had been deliberately poisoned, on council land in the small Southland town of Tuatapere.

The Waikuku tree is about 1.5m in diameter and roughly 25 to 30m tall.

“I’m gutted. We’ve lost another mature, old tree. It’s not a native, it doesn’t have that native tree significance or ecological significance really, but it’s part of our history and it’s part of the landscape of that area. It’s a real loss and we can’t get that back,” Kwant said.

“We just assume that it must have been poisoned because to have that effect on a tree of that size and age would take a bit of poison to actually kill it like it has so quickly.”

The Waimakariri District Council says it was devastated to discover one of Waikuku's hundred-plus year old pine trees on Park Terrace appears to have been targeted.

Drill holes around the trunk suggest the tree was poisoned
Photo: Supplied/ Waimakariri District Council

He hoped nearby trees would not be targeted, but said that tree vandalism was an ongoing and regular issue the council had to deal with.

Kwant wanted people to contact the council with any concerns about trees on council land impacting their properties rather than taking matters into their own hands.

“This is a community owned asset, it’s something that the wider community and visitors, tourists enjoy. It’s part of the landscape, part of our history. Once it’s gone, we don’t get it back, not for another 100 years so please think twice before considering anything like that.”

Story Credit: rnz.co.nz

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