One Tree Hill chainsaw removed from auction site

A chainsaw used by Maori activist Mike Smith to attack the iconic pine tree on Auckland's One Tree Hill in 1994 has been removed from an online auction site, after attracting a top bid of $10,000.

The "One Tree Hill chainsaw", complete with a certificate of authenticity, had been listed in Trade Me's antiques and collectables section with a starting price of $5000.

By this morning the top bid was $10,000, after two higher bids were removed.

Trade Me's head of business Mike O'Donnell said after receiving more than 200 e-mails about the chainsaw listing the site held a poll about whether the auction should continue.

"People spoke out vociferously both against it and in favour of it and in those situations where there are such strongly held opinions by the community we'll let them decide, and the decision was pretty clear - 82 per cent against," he told National Radio.

Trade Me had sought police advice on whether it was illegal for the chainsaw to be sold and were told there was nothing to prevent the sale.

The listing had created some controversy, with messages of support but also "racist reactions", according to the seller "straighteye", or "Mike from Kerikeri".

Smith was selling the chainsaw on behalf of the friend he had borrowed the chainsaw from in 1994.

"Mike Smith is not the vendor. The money is going to support a local development initiative," straighteye wrote.

The listing was today removed from the site, as Smith had yesterday predicted it would be.

A simple message read "this listing was withdrawn by the administrator".

Prior to this more than 20,000 had viewed the page.

Smith took a chainsaw to the Monterey Pine tree in 1994, believing it to be a symbol of colonial oppression.

The 125-year-old pine remained standing for several years but was too damaged to survive and was felled by Auckland City Council in 2000.

- NZPA

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