Almost a year to the day since a bright orange road cone mysteriously appeared at the top of a Whanganui Norfolk pine, the mystery has finally been solved.
Arborists from Whanganui Beaver Tree Services were at the tree on Tuesday morning, removing the cone overlooking Rotokawau/Virginia Lake.
The cone was first discovered in September last year, when a member of the public spotted an orange object at the top of the 100ft Norfolk pine on the grounds of the council reserve.
The tree, adjacent to several residential properties, was only accessible by wading through bush and up a steep dirt slope.
The Whanganui District Council said last year the cone was 'illegally placed' and it would work to figure out how to remove the object.
"Gaining access to this cone would be very difficult; the council's parks team will monitor the situation."
But a year later the cone still stood, with a frustrated nearby resident deciding to take the matter into her own hands.
She contacted Beaver Tree Service to rid the tree of the cone, at her own cost of more than $300.
Beaver Tree Service arborist Jacob Hiroti was given the task of scaling the tree.
"The cone was actually tied down with three ropes to make sure it was stable. There were Christmas lights all around it, too.
"Whoever put it up there clearly thought it was a bit of fun and wanted it to stay."
But it was the discovery of a wooden box filled with painted rocks about 10 metres up the tree that explained the cone's purpose.
Hiroti said it's likely that the cone was part of a 'geocache' - a treasure-hunting orienteering game in which members of the public attempt to find objects hidden by others.
"It would have been a dangerous climb up there for whoever did it."
Beaver Tree Service owner Bryce Robb said taking the cone down wasn't about ruining people's fun.
"A cone at the top of a Norfolk pine like that can really hamper its growth. It looks like whoever has put it up there has cut a bit of the tree too."
Robb said the job was one of the more unique the company has been tasked with.
"We've done cats and drones before, but a cone is pretty new," Robb said.