One Tree Hill to get grove of trees
A tree will stand on Auckland's One Tree Hill once again, 15 years after its namesake pine was attacked and removed.
A grove of native trees will be planted on the summit during the Maori new year in 2016, with the strongest of them to eventually stand alone on the iconic peak.
Mayor Len Brown said the decision by Tupuna Maunga o Tamaki Makaurau Authority to reinstate the tree would be celebrated across Auckland.
"Aucklanders have been waiting for this moment for 15 years," he said in a speech given at the site today.
"The loss of the tree was a symbol of what divided us. The return of a tree is a symbol of what unites us."
Arborists will first plant a small grove of three young totara and six young pohutukawa, along with a shelter-band of native shrubs to ensure the optimum chance of survival in the exposed conditions on the peak.
Then, over the course of several years, the strongest trees will be slowly selected, with the goal to see a single single pohutukawa or totara standing within a decade.
All of the young specimens that will be planted in the new grove have been grown from parent trees at Maungakiekie/One Tree Hill, the council says.
Some of the pohutukawa specimens have been sourced from seedlings that were found growing on the former Monterey pine tree that stood on the summit.
The pohutukawa seedlings were saved when the pine tree was removed and were cultivated in nurseries.
The grove replaces the 125-year-old Monterey pine that was removed in 2000 after it became unsafe following chainsaw attacks in 1994 and 1999.
The first attack was carried out by Maori activist Mike Smith who was protesting government limitations put on Maori treaty settlements.
The second was carried out by Smith's relatives.