Lincoln Tan is the New Zealand Herald’s diversity, ethnic affairs and immigration senior reporter.

Crowds gather to see historic One Tree Hill planting

Hundreds of Aucklanders witnessed the historic replanting of trees at Maungakiekie, One Tree Hill, this morning.

A grove of nine trees, six young pohutukawa and three totara - grown from parent trees from the domain - were planted on the summit where the former Monterey pine once stood.

Paul Majurey, chairman of the Tupana Maunga o Tamaki Makaurau Authority, said: "This is a momentous milestone for this taonga, for Mana Whenua and for the people of Tamaki Makaurau".

The trees to be planted at the dawn ceremony at One Tree Hill. Photo / Lincoln Tan
The trees to be planted at the dawn ceremony at One Tree Hill. Photo / Lincoln Tan

The trees were planted by representatives from Nga Mana Whenua o Tamaki Makaurau, Tupuna Maunga o Tamaki Makaurau Authority, Tupuna Taonga Trust, Auckland Council, Maungakiekie-Tamaki local board and the local community.

One of the planters, 89-year-old Ted Wilson, said the event was of special significance for him.

"I grew up in the area, I went to Cornwall Park School in 1933 and I used to come up here and we used to go sledging, we'd make a sledge, climb up to the top and sledge down," he said.

Aucklanders attend the dawn ceremony at One Tree Hill. Photo / Lincoln Tan
Aucklanders attend the dawn ceremony at One Tree Hill. Photo / Lincoln Tan
The dawn ceremony begins at One Tree Hill. Photo / Lincoln Tan
The dawn ceremony begins at One Tree Hill. Photo / Lincoln Tan

Over the years, Mr Wilson would come up with his wife to the park for regular walks.
"The first tree was like a very dear old friend, so it was painful for me when it had to come down," he said.

"It's truly an honour to be part of the replanting, that I hope would create new memories for generations to come."

Grandmother Amy Johnson, 78, who was at the dawn ceremony with her grandnephew Josh Bruce, 4, said it was special that the trees were sourced from the original pine.

Tree planter Ted Wilson poses with a tree after completion of the new trees being planted on Auckland's One Tree Hill. Photo / Nick Reed
Tree planter Ted Wilson poses with a tree after completion of the new trees being planted on Auckland's One Tree Hill. Photo / Nick Reed

Some of the trees that were planted had been sourced from seedlings found growing on the original pine, believed to be the sole survivor of a grove of trees planted by Sir John Logan Campbell in the 1870s.

The tree was attacked by Maori activists in 1994 and again in 1999, and had to be removed in 2000 due to the risk of it collapsing.

Auckland City Mayor, Len Brown speaks at the planting of the new trees on One Tree Hill. Photo / Nick Reed
Auckland City Mayor, Len Brown speaks at the planting of the new trees on One Tree Hill. Photo / Nick Reed

"It shows that you can chop down a tree, but you can never kill the one tree hill spirit," Mrs Johnson said.

Sue Roche, 75, said the replanting was "exciting, special and important".

"We've been wanting it for 16 years since the last one came down," Mrs Roche said.

"Hopefully in 10 years' time, it would become one tree hill again, as we know it."

Liane Ngamane, spokesperson for the Tamaki Collective, added: "It is indeed a moment to be shared and celebrated by all people of Tamaki Makaurau Auckland."

Tree planter Chris Darby of Auckland Council, Tepuna Maunga Authority, poses with a tree (right) after completion of the new trees being planted on Auckland's One Tree Hill. Photo / Nick Reed
Tree planter Chris Darby of Auckland Council, Tepuna Maunga Authority, poses with a tree (right) after completion of the new trees being planted on Auckland's One Tree Hill. Photo / Nick Reed

Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga, Minister for Pacific Peoples and Ethnic Communities, said One Tree Hill was an iconic New Zealand landmark that was recognised internationally.

"It is a significant step forward to see these trees restore some of the history and pride back to the city of Auckland," Mr Lotu-Iiga said.

A shelter-band of native shrubs, including the kiekie plant, has also been planted within the grove to help protect the young trees and ensure the optimum chance of survival in the exposed conditions.

The aim is that, after a decade, a single pohutukawa or totara will remain standing.

Video

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production bpcf05 at 06 Dec 2016 17:01:32 Processing Time: 505ms