The man who climbed a Titirangi kauri tree to stop it from being felled pleaded guilty to trespass when he appeared in the Waitakere District Court this morning.

Johno Smith spent two weeks up the tree in a community-led initiative.

He pleaded guilty to wilful trespass and asked to be considered for restorative justice.

Outside court, members of the Titirangi community said they were disappointed Smith had to appear in court because they were united in their desire to save the tree. The tree's owners want to chop it down and develop the land.

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Smith said he should not have to break the law to protect the environment for future generations.

"Legislation should be in place to ensure our planet remains habitable," he said.

Smith said documents providing background information about the kauri and the surrounding issues would be submitted before sentencing.