Auckland Council won't try to stop ancient kauri's felling

Developers in Auckland's Titirangi will soon have permission to cut down a kauri tree.

Environmental groups have been calling on the council to step in to protect the 400-year-old's felling, which can legally happen anytime from April 26.

Auckland Councillor Penny Hulse says the tree's owners have permission to cut it down, following an Environment Court decision earlier this month.

She told Newshub they want to build a house, either the tree goes or the bush - but the bush is protected.

"Sadly it is a bit of a lose-lose, but it is their right to build a house."

Hulse said the blanket protection of native trees was lifted by the previous National-led Government in 2015, and the council can't override that or the Environment Court's decision, but some councillors are looking to create a new plan for protecting trees in the Auckland region.

The tree, named Awhiawhi, made headlines in 2015 when the property's owners first planned to cut it down. Activist Michael Tavares  spent three-and-a-half days in it, extracting a promise from the owners they wouldn't cut it down.

But the owners reneged on the promise after a plan for the two properties to be purchased at a fair market value in order to save the tree fell through.

Hulse said the council won't be getting involved, saying they're looking at the bigger picture.

"Our feeling is that if we're going to do a plan change… we would rather schedule a whole lot of trees, than put all of our energy just into one."