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Tony Watkins

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Photograph by Kellie Blizard
Precious trees can now be protected! Residents have the opportunity to nominate trees that deserve to be taken care of, reports Joe Barratt.





Looking out over the ocean, just above the spot where the Treaty of Waitangi was signed in Karaka Bay, sits a puhutukawa tree with its sprawling, octopus like limbs. It provides a magnificent view for the people living around it.

Last year, that tree was protected in a system called scheduling – the only tree to receive that protection in Auckland City in 15 years.

Right down in Karaka Bay lives Tony Watkins. He was not involved in protecting the pohutukawa but he has a long history of protecting the city’s trees.

In the 1970s, Mr Watkins became the first person to schedule a tree in the city and is glad the pohutukawa is now protected.

“With general tree protection the council generally folds and the trees disappear. Scheduling gives them much better protection.”

If you have ever seen a tree in your area that you liked or thought was interesting, now is the time to make a move to protect it.

It could be a healthy specimen, stand out more than others or would be missed by local people.

With a new district plan in the works Councillor Glenda Fryer says now is the opportunity for the public to nominate trees they want scheduled.

“There is a window of a few months. To get trees added to the district plan after it is finished costs thousands,” she says.
“As far as I know, there are no scheduled trees in Sandringham or Balmoral, which I find perplexing. There are so many beautiful trees in the area.”

Any trees selected will be checked by an arborist. They can be groups of trees or individuals and be standing on private or public property.

Hueline Massey is a field officer for the Tree Council who says scheduling trees is important.

“It can help stop people from just chopping down any trees in the area without real thought for its impact.”

However Mrs Massey says it is not enough and more needs to be done to protect trees in Auckland.


Published in "Aucklander" 2 July 2008 

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