A new tree for Auckland's iconic One Tree Hill is back on the agenda, after the Government announced plans to give some local landmarks back to local iwi.

The Monterey Pine planted in the 1870s lasted more than 120 years before it was attacked in 1994 with a chainsaw by Maori activist Mike Smith, angry at the way Treaty of Waitangi negotiations were going.

The tree was badly damaged. It was bandaged and held up with wire ropes and lasted another six years before it was felled in 2000.

Since then numerous debates had been held over what to replace it with but in 2002 Mayor John Banks said it would not be replaced until a deal had been done on the ownership of the hill.

Tribes met earlier this week to discuss a government offer to transfer ownership of several landmark Auckland volcanic cones, including One Tree Hill, to a new body representing iwi.

Now Mr Banks, still Auckland mayor, said a new tree for One Tree Hill would go back on the agenda.

He said the Auckland City Council had been growing pohutukawa and kauri trees in a secret location and would meet with iwi to decide what would go back on One Tree Hill.

"They are of a good size to stand a reasonable chance of surviving on that hostile mountain."

He said several trees could be planted.

"The reason for planting multiple trees... over 25 or 30 years, maybe one, two or three may survive."

He said local iwi had no interest in replanting the tree until the treaty claim was settled.

"I have no doubt the claim will be settled and I have no doubt Ngati Whatua and the city will plant trees there," he said.

Mr Banks said he now planned to raise the issue with Ngati Whatua leadership at their next meeting.

- NZPA