A social media campaign and the voices of tangata whenua have joined to put a halt to any cutting of a culturally significant pohutukawa tree.
Lyn Dallison has started a petition to prevent the mature Tairua tree that's deemed as historically significant, and known as Tangimanawa, from being cut to allow for a footpath extension.
Lyn reignited the campaign after Tairua-Pauanui Community Board member Chris New raised what he noted as a "developing health and safety risk involving a pohutukawa tree on Paku Drive".
The tree "was obstructing sight lines and preventing safe passage for pedestrians" according to the board's minutes, and the matter was added to the board's action schedule.
However, at Monday's board meeting, chairman Warwick Brooks said he had no recollection of any discussion about the tree.
Residents rallied around the tree a year ago when the board considered the issue.
Ngati Hei iwi kaumātua and QSM recipient Joe Davis said there were more questions than answers as to why the board would put the matter on to its action schedule.
"It's quite simple really - move the road!
"Why Paku was 'sold' to the Pākehā in the first place and by whom? Why is there development on Paku?"
On Monday, Lyn asked the board to consider solutions such as shared zones if there was any conflict between pedestrians and road users.
Lyn said a petition to ensure the tree is untouched now has 700 signatures.
"I'm not in the business of having solutions but I know that there are shared zones everywhere in this country that make it safe for pedestrians, cyclists, trees and cars and we'd really like those solutions explored rather than the idea of either destroying, cutting down or severely pruning Tangimanawa."
if Tangata Whenua say it's a taonga tree, what right has anybody got to cut it?
Among those who are making their voices heard on the pohutukawa tree is Charlie Krause, who says her grandmother had to step up to lobby for its protection years ago.
She has started a campaign on Change.org which reads: He Tangimanawa tēnei! This rākau (tree) is important to our hapū because it was where waka (canoe) would be tied while the chief tupāpaku were carried to the burial cave.
"This rākau holds a lot of significance for us and is extremely tapu (sacred). So if it were to be chopped down, it would be another tie to our history being cut away for our future generations to learn about.
"We don't have many physical landmarks for our people and the community to go to and learn about. So we want to save Tangimanawa for everyone to learn about the history of Tairua.
"My nan was the first one to save Tangimanawa the first time the council wanted to chop it down. Now it's up to me and some of the community in Tairua to preserve it this time."
Tairua Environment Society chairman John Drummond joined Lyn at the board meeting on Monday.
"We don't need to ask any more questions, if tangata whenua say it's a taonga tree, what right has anybody got to cut it?"