The Totara in question is on a property now owned by Willis & Bond / Compassion Horowhenua Housing. They are the new owners of Johnston Street community housing that was formerly Council owned. The tree to the right of the fence in the photo is to be cut back, that one is on Council property (Seaview Gardens). However the other tree to the left is to be felled. This native Totara is not currently listed as a ‘notable tree’, the only thing I understand that could prevent its being felled. The by-laws apparently have recently changed in the Horowhenua preventing the species from being protected there. So how is this a forward move? Felling a protected native species? Have local iwi been consulted on this?
It should in my opinion be cut back (for easier ongoing maintenance of the buildings if that is what is required) … but not felled. That is very backward thinking.
The following article reflects the direction Councils are taking in their professions of Treaty Partnership with regard to native trees. Their websites tend to pay lip service only to the Treaty. It is described in the article how the Auckland Council failed to support a rāhui placed on the Waitakere Forest to protect Kauri, another protected species.
“The council’s Environment and Community Committee chose to reject the rāhui request made byTe Kawarau-a-Maki, deciding instead to close only high-risk and medium-risk tracks.”
Read the article: Why aren’t people listening? Māori scientists on why rāhui are important
So it would appear the Horowhenua District Council is moving in a similar direction? With recent by-law changes the protected species is now set for the chop.
Note: I have requested of Council today (5th Feb) that the tree be made ‘notable’. They’ve referred my request to a ‘Strategic Planner’ to respond. Please consider requesting the same by sending an email to: