Protect our ‘Notable Trees’

Since general ‘tree protection’ was removed, the only means of protecting our mature trees is the ‘Notable Tree Register’. With 600 trees waiting to be listed, Auckland Council has now closed the register off! All trees within reserves and ‘significant ecological areas’ (eg Western Springs Forest) are considered ‘Notable Trees’, and resource consent is required for their removal. Recently a healthy, 130 year-old ‘Notable’ macrocarpa was felled because the developers threatened litigation against Auckland Council. This sets a dangerous precedent.

Auckland Council’s senior heritage arborist said this: “Once it is a notable tree it must be retained, which is the very intent of it being notable. There are no health or structural issues with this tree that cannot be addressed through regular maintenance pruning, which is part of property maintenance. In addition to the amenity values of these trees, they also provide a multitude of eco- services that are increased through maturity and scale.”

Ngati Whatua-Orakei also said, “We expect to see this tree protected and retained. While it is not a native tree it still plays a significant role in the ecosystem and the community. Culturally we consider the mauri of the habitat as a whole and this tree will support a number of native animals, including birds, invertebrates and fungi. Nature does not exist in isolation, it is related through whakapapa and it is still
a child of Papatuanuku. We would also like to draw attention to the recently declared climate change emergency, as well as the councils own Urban Ngahere strategy and Te Taruke-a-Tawhiri: Auckland’s Climate Plan; all of which clearly outline the importance of retaining vegetation and especially large trees.

Finally, this notable tree is loved by the community and it plays a significant role in the ecosystem and is contributing to reducing our climate impact. Tamaki Makaurau is losing trees at an alarming rate, we see this every day in resource consents. This should be taken as an opportunity to showcase how we should be retaining trees. There is limited tree protection left in Aotearoa. We would like to trust that the Auckland Council, as our treaty partners, will appropriately value the protected trees. Auckland Council should be showing the people of Tamaki Makaurau that they respecting their role as kaitiaki.” (Older siblings)

Let’s protect these mature trees and challenge Auckland Council to do the same!

Gael Baldock, Community Advocate and Tree Protector

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