Diseased tree now facing the chop

By Don Farmer

It will be a sad day for Greytown if - and when it would seem - the big Farley oak on West St is felled.

From latest reports the 150-year-old tree has lived its life and has been declared diseased and unlikely to survive.

That diagnosis has apparently convinced Greytown Community Board and its parent body, South Wairarapa District Council, to sign the oak's death warrant, despite photographs taken last week of the tree looking a bit lopsided, but leafy and green.

Greytown has, of course, the huge gum in the grounds of St Luke's Anglican Church.

There were rumblings in years past to deal to the gum but these were overcome partly because of public outrage over the very idea of dropping the eucalypt, stolen from the wheelbarrow of Samuel Oates many moons ago as the weary traveller sought relief for his thirst in the Rising Sun Hotel.

Saddest of all when the Farley oak goes will be the Farley family, one of the long-standing Greytown families who well recall the days when stud jersey cows grazed quietly under its umbrella.

Big trees are still a feature of Greytown but most of what could be termed enormous trees have gone, including the largest macrocarpa tree probably in the lower North Island, if not the country.

The enormous macrocarpa was felled in late 1962 by a team of professional tree-fellers who took about two weeks to trim off its massive limbs and deal to them before being able to tackle its trunk.

So big was the macrocarpa, which unfortunately grew in a part of the town that was developing as a housing area and had to go because it shaded the entire area, that it is rumoured to have taken 20 men linked with arms outstretched to go round its girth at ground level.

Fortunately the town is blessed with some excellent mature trees, particularly in the bush areas of Soldiers Memorial Park and the lines of lovely lime trees nearby, each planted in memory of a fallen World War I soldier from the district.


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