Historic Paraparaumu North Beach tree reaches the end of its life

5 Apr 2024, 12:43 PM

Kāpiti Coast District Council has made the sad decision to fell a notable macrocarpa tree that has been a feature of the Paraparaumu North Beach skyline for generations. 

The century-old macrocarpa in the Arapawaiti Cemetery Reserve has reached the end of its natural life and now poses a safety risk to people and property. 

Parks, open space and environment manager Gareth Eloff says the tree has been kept going for the last 10 years with interventions like bracing and pruning but is now beyond help. 

“We recognise many in the area will be sad to see this once mighty tree no longer prominently visible,” Mr Eloff says. 

Photo: The macrocarpa tree at the Arapawaiti Cemetery Reserve. See larger image.

“The macrocarpa’s age, location and the impact of recent storms mean it has lost a significant portion of its canopy and it is now weighted towards private and public property. 

“It’s also showing signs of interior decay which will be compromising its structure. 

“We’ve had the tree assessed by an independent arborist who has recommended its felling and we’re preparing to get this job done in the coming weeks.” 

Because the tree is listed as notable in the Operative District Plan resource consent is required for this work to be completed. This has been granted. 

The Arapawaiti Cemetery Reserve is historically significant. 

The Reserve is possibly part of an early Māori burial ground and is of high cultural importance to Āti Awa ki Whakarongotai as wāhi tapu. 

For around 150 years until the early 1990s the site was used as a cemetery by early European settlers and their descendants. 

Mr Eloff says representatives from Āti Awa and descendants of the families have been involved in discussions about the tree’s felling and are supportive of this step. 

Mr Eloff says because of the site’s use as a cemetery and its historic significance particular care will be taken in felling the tree. 

Because the tree is within a cemetery the wood will be retained in the Reserve, with much of it to be chipped for mulch. 

“We’ll also be following tikanga Māori protocols and depending on the state of the timber we will look to use some of it in a memorial feature. 

“We’ll work with iwi and the family representatives on this once we can see what we’ve got to work with.” 

Mr Eloff says the reserve is home to many other mature native trees and will continue to be maintained by Council. 

Work is expected to begin in April and could take up to two weeks to complete. During this time Arapawaiti Cemetery Reserve will be closed to the public.