I love trees. I love trees more than I like some people.
What's not to love?
From the majestic oaks and ancient yews of my English childhood, to the glorious Kiwi natives.
The flamboyant palms, towering ferns and splendid pohutukawa. The riot of colour from cherry blossoms and jacaranda.
The heady scents of laden fruit trees in city gardens. The sound of birdsong heralding our sunny Bay mornings.
You would have to be a sorry soul not to be stirred walking through some of our avenues at the moment, and not feel the romance of the autumn leaves.
Even if you walk with your eyes bowed to the pavement never looking up at the sylvan beauty, trees might appeal to your practical if not aesthetic nature.
For trees combat climate change.
They offer sanctuary to birdlife. Shade, shelter, wood. Apple pies, pinecones and cinnamon in the winter hearth. Feijoa ice cream and lemonade in the summer.
Not everyone feels the same way about trees. As the visionary poet William Blake put it: "The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.
Some see nature all ridicule and deformity ... and some scarce see nature at all.
But to the eyes of the man of imagination, nature is imagination itself."
Some people are not just indifferent to trees, but plain antagonistic.
It is horrifying in our city to see the amputated stumps of trees that once stood mighty, felled and naked, with rings on the severed stub of trunk the only reminder of their ancient splendour.
Imagine a city without trees. How barren in looks, sentiment and history.
As this paper has opined before, the fate of some trees has hung precariously in the hands of Tauranga City Council.
Over the years we have reported many stories on trees that were felled on the wishes of the minority, including silver birches in Cherrywood, a silk tree in Harvey St, pines in Papamoa, pohutukawa on Marine Parade and a park-like area in Bureta. There were people who complained about the mess, the leaves, the roots. Now, in the latest tree-versus-human battle, the axe is hovering over another pohutukawa tree overlooking Fergusson Park.
A Waratah St house owner had applied to have the tree removed last year.
Despite a petition and outcry from local Matua residents, the council decided this week it did not want to get into an expensive legal battle over the right of the property owner to insist that the 22m-high tree be removed.
The owner exercised his rights under a 1954 covenant that forbade his view being grown out by vegetation. The council could apply to the court to get the covenant modified but decided not to due to the expense - an estimated $35,000.
A lot of money for one tree. But one could argue that the council should act in the interest of the whole community.
Local government has the city's treescape in its hands. It must recognise the importance of conserving significant groups of trees as well as stand-alone trees as a way to safeguard the character of neighbourhoods.
Could there be any negotiation with the home owner? Any compromise sought?
I do not agree with cutting down trees for reasons of views, or because they create mess or for allergies or for any reason apart from safety of a falling branch.
Does that make me some sort of loony tree hugger?
"Lunatics on the fringe" is how people who are worried about the environment are often positioned, according to US environmentalist Dr Guy McPherson, who has written and spoken extensively about the threat of human extinction from climate change and lack of attention to our impact on the environment.
The property owner who wants the tree removed to improve their prevailing views to the Mount spends most of their time in Australia, returning to the house for holidays. It is not enough that he only needs to make a short walk to Fergusson Park to encounter glorious views of the Mount, he wants that view from his house.
A view to die for it is, with the slaughter of the pohutukawa - a great loss not just for this community and visitors to Matua, but the Bay community in future generations.
Environmentalist Dr McPherson warns, there is a bigger picture that we individually and collectively have to bear in mind:
"If you think the economy is more important than the environment, try holding your breath while counting your money."