Help us help Waitara to save its beautiful, historic, tree-lined riverfront. Send an email to Taranaki District Councillors and other key decision makers to express your opposition to the unnecessary removal of these 23 notable and majestic pōhutukawa trees.
With the people-powered success of #SaveOurKauri and the Pōhutukawa6, it's time to stand up for communities and their trees in other parts of the country as well.
"Waitara is a small town 10 minutes north of New Plymouth but it has a big history and the river has always been integral to the town. Around 65 years ago, local nurseryman Sir Victor Davies persuaded Sir Thomas Borthwick to allow the planting of a row of pōhutukawa on the riverside boundary of the freezing works. These trees were to screen the works and beautify the area while retaining the river bank. The original plantings include four specimens of the yellow pōhutukawa gifted from the people of Motiti Island. It is believed that these are the oldest and largest specimens on mainland New Zealand. Come Christmas every year, it is the red pōhutukawa that make the big impression but all year round, these trees offer shelter and stature to the banks of the Waitara.
Now Taranaki Regional Council (TRC) are to fell the biggest and best 23 trees. Despite repeated requests, TRC have refused to get a second opinion. Councillors did not acknowledge or respond to emails. So-called ‘consultation’ has been carried out by the engineer but he has been lobbying to get key stakeholders on his side. The final report was received by TRC under “public excluded” and ratified the following meeting under the same exclusion provision. They refused to receive three community deputations on the plans, including one from Kaumātua. They refused to receive the petition pleading with them to get a second opinion on how the trees could be saved. It was signed by over 1000 people, mostly local. Waitara only has a population of 6300.
It should be possible to keep the trees while protecting the town from flooding. We can have both.
At this point, the trees still stand so there is hope but time is running out.
As the grim appearance of the flood barriers becomes obvious, the case for keeping the trees is stronger than ever.
Please help save the Waitara 23 by flooding the inboxes of the TRC and other key decision makers.
Be sure and add a personal message to your email otherwise you may get an error message. This can simply be "To Whom it May Concern" or "Thank you for reading".
Together we can let them know the whole country is watching for what they do next."
- Abbie Jury, Waitara Local and Spokesperson for Save The Waitara Riverside Pōhutukawa