An almost 150-year-old poplar tree at Frimley Park has been temporarily cordoned off for safety reasons, its future now up in the air.

The council today advised caution around the Populus deltoides tree as the high winds the region has experienced the past couple of days were causing bark and branches to blow off.

Winds didn't reach the 120km/h gusts hinted as possible in Hawke's Bay today but they were still significant and lasted the entire day.

Napier and Cape Kidnappers recorded the joint strongest gust of the day. MetService meteorologist Andy Best said the 70km/h blasts were both at 11am.


A Hastings District Council spokeswoman said the bark and branches falling off the tree indicated it was "showing signs of its age".

The council was engaging an independent consultant arborist to assess the tree and "help give direction on its future".

The poplar was planted in the 1870s and is one of the oldest and largest of its kind in the country. It is listed as a notable tree on the New Zealand Tree Register.

The tree once held the title of the tallest tree of its kind in the country before the top of its canopy was trimmed in 2018 "life-saving surgery" to extend its life as long as possible.

About 10 per cent of the tree canopy was removed under advice from independent arborists who were engaged when there were movements in its base.