Those fighting to save an ancient Titirangi kauri threatened by a property development are pleading for Auckland Council to take action after it was given temporary protection by the High Court.
The 400-year-old kauri, named "Awhiawhi" by tāngata whenua, was due to be cut down in 2015 to make way for two houses on the Paturoa Rd site, but the community rallied to save the tree. Activists even suspended themselves in the branches for days to stop it.
An Environment Court decision in March this year stated the tree's temporary protection would end on April 26, when it could potentially be felled.
But that decision has been challenged in the High Court, which has applied another temporary protection to the tree.
The appeal was accepted by High Court Judge Peters, who extended protection of the kauri to "preserve the status quo at least for a short period, pending further order of the Court".
Save Our Kauri Trust spokesman Michael Tavares, who originally occupied the tree in 2015, said the order would likely give the group at least another month to seek permanent protection.
The original building consents for the property had been revoked, but as the landowners were designing a new dwelling for the site the group was seeking permanent protection for the tree and two other ancient kauri on a road reserve nearby.
This month Mayor Phil Goff told the Herald there was nothing Auckland Council could do to save the 400-year-old kauri from the chainsaws.
He said their hands were tied due to changes under the previous government to the Resource Management Act, which removed blanket protections of trees in urban areas.
But those fighting to save the tree say the council had made errors in developing its Unitary Plan and not including the property, and Awhiawhi, in a significant ecological area.
"We are calling on the Auckland Council to reinstate the significant ecological area and to pursue all and any strategies that will ensure this treasured tree is not lost," Tavares said.
"Awhiawhi has become a symbol of New Zealand's love for our magnificent kauri species.
"Despite the area being rife with kauri dieback, this tree appears to be asymptomatic, so possibly has some kind of resistance. It could hold a key to fighting the disease, and is a valuable seed resource."
The tree had also survived a ringbarking attempt three years ago.
"This tree is of great cultural, scientific and ecological value."
Tavares said since the RMA changes to tree protection property rights had "over tipped the balance" over environmental protection.
"Everybody should have the right to enjoy their property and build a house on their residential property, but there needs to be a proper balance set when there is a significant, endangered kauri at risk.
"The council has an opportunity to get this right, to reapply the significant ecological area, and make a plan change to reinstate protections of trees of certain sizes and ages."
The group was calling for donations to a Givealittle page to support with court costs.