McCahon's much-loved kauri succumb to dieback disease

By Hana Garrett-Walker

Almost 50 of the works by the late contemporary artist feature kauri, say experts. Photo / NZ Herald
Almost 50 of the works by the late contemporary artist feature kauri, say experts. Photo / NZ Herald

Two of the kauri trees which feature strongly in some Colin McCahon artworks have to be felled because of kauri dieback disease.

Another 23 of the trees at his Titirangi property have also tested positive for the disease.

Auckland councillor Sandra Coney said the two trees had been deemed a safety risk to the road and the cottage, which is run by the McCahon House Trust, and needed to be felled safely before they caused damage.

Art commentator Hamish Keith said kauri were a "bit of an icon" in McCahon's work from about 1956.

It was a great pity the trees had succumbed to the disease and had to be removed. "That is a genuine tragedy."

Many of McCahon's works which featured the trees would also show his Titirangi home where he lived with his family between 1953 and 1960, Mr Keith said.

Ms Coney said the site was considered one of the most culturally important areas of kauri in Auckland.

The felling would be a delicate procedure to ensure the disease, which does not have a known cure, was not spread further.

The felled trees would be studied to learn more about the disease.

According to the McCahon House Trust almost 50 works have kauri in their title.

- APNZ

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