Tree felling specialists sharpened up the saws and sorted the rigging ropes yesterday for a giant job on a giant tree in Taradale - a job which will take three days to carry out.

The tree is a redwood, believed to be more than 140 years old and still growing, on a property on the corner of Ngarimu Drive and Church Rd.

"Not something you see every day," was how one of the dozen or more nearby residents who stood, at a safe distance to watch proceedings, said.

For nearby Ngarimu Rd resident Bev Brown the felling of the giant was "one of those things" and would become part of history.


She has lived there for 40 years and earlier lived in nearby White St where her parents set up house in 1926, and remembers the redwood pine as always being huge.

"I've got a photo of Dad standing in front of it in 1972 and it was nearly 100 years old then."

That was the year three apartment houses were built in Ngarimu Drive.

Mrs Brown said she remembered the days when the tree carried a "protected" sign on it, but when it was found the tree was on privately owned land it was taken off. She was not too upset about the tree coming down and said it would have had to, sooner or later.

She had spoken to people who had previously lived by the tree and heard that the still-expanding giant roots had the potential to cause problems.

The roots had already lifted a fence at the property.

"And at some stages I've seen branches come down," she said.

One local man, a 70-year-old, said he remembered seeing the tree during the days he walked to school along Church Rd when he was eight.

"But it wasn't as big as it is now of course."

He said the tree had simply got too large. Another bystander said while the tree was something of a landmark, it did drop "heaps" of pine needles across the area and said it appeared to have outgrown the neighbourhood.

The property owners had been there for two years and said falling cones, the size of golf balls, and pine needles landed on the footpath and filled the gutters of the area.

The tree had been planted when that area on the western side of Church Rd was a reserve.

Tree surgeons began by trimming the lower branches away and moved up the 60m tree to take off the top branches of one side.

A crane would be used tomorrow to help fell and remove the main part of the truck, which is about 2m wide at the base.