Napier City Council is seeking $24,000 reparation from a drunken forestry worker who admitted to felling a historic Nelson Park palm tree.

Matthew Kenneth Dugdale, 21, pleaded guilty to intentional damage and endangering the lives of neighbours which could have been victim to the falling 20m tall tree.

He also pleaded guilty to a raft of matters transferred from Gisborne including assault, assault against a female, possession of a weapon, breach of bail and three breaches of prison release conditions.

Dugdale had been on a "drinking spree" on January 15 when he damaged a number of trees around his flat before focusing his attention on the 20m-tall Pacific Palm tree.

Concerned, his flatmates took his chainsaw and locked it in a room. Unknown to them he managed to get in to retrieve the saw and went to Nelson Park.

Police prosecutor John Ashfield said Dugdale first attacked the tree about 11.30pm. Unable to fell it, he left, leaving the tree almost fully cut with his chainsaw stuck under the pressure. He then returned with wedges before finishing the tree off.

His lawyer Leo Lafferty said his client realised prison would be likely but still sought the return of his chainsaw.

Judge Bridget Mackintosh remanded sentencing following instruction that Napier City Council wished to make submissions.

Dugdale was remanded in custody to reappear in March.