Johno Smith explains why he tried to save the Titirangi Kauri

Written By: - Date published: 11:20 am, January 20th, 2016 - 44 comments
Categories: Conservation, Environment - Tags: ,

johno smith paturoa kauri-1

Johno Smith has appeared today in the Waitakere District Court charged with trespass after his climbing of the Paturoa Road Kauri in an effort to save it. He has pleaded guilty to the charge. He has released a press release that sets out his reasons why he did this. These are his reasons:

I will plead guilty to Wilful Trespass and take full accountability for my actions. I shouldn’t have to break the law to protect our environment for future generations. Legislation should be in place to ensure our planet remains habitable.

Recent law reforms under the National Government have seen a greater proportion of mature trees being removed across the country; we need to act quickly if we want to preserve our Urban Forests by implementing a better form of tree protection.

Leading overseas cities have Urban Forest Strategies in place that are vital for the health and wellbeing of their communities. The National Government’s failure to protect our Urban Forests means New Zealand is falling behind


44 comments on “Johno Smith explains why he tried to save the Titirangi Kauri ”

  1. indiana 1

    He could have made an offer and brought the property to fulfill his obligation to protect the environment for future generations. Urban forests like Cornwall Park are well protected – I don’t think the definition of urban forest should be extended to private property.

    • shari 1.1

      People have tried your suggestion. The owners want to sell it for more than its worth

      • James 1.1.1

        Who sets whats its worth – I would say they wanted to pay less than it was worth.

        Value is set by what a willing seller and a willing buyer can agree on.

    • ianmac 1.2

      Indiana I just bought the section next door to you. I will raze the section and bring in my Bikie mates to build a fort for nonstop partying.
      “I don’t think the definition of urban forest should be extended to private property.”
      You are so right. What happens in my patch is my business. You certainly won’t have any rights to stop me.

      • indiana 1.2.1

        ianmac, why are you comparing apples with oranges? I have no opposition to you razing your section – I’ll probably get more sunlight! As for the general causing of nuisance, fat chance you’ll get away with that.

        Shari, I’d sell it for more than what its worth too, if someone opposes me from developing my property within the guidelines of the council rules. If Johno feels so strongly about the future, why doesn’t he plant 20 trees in an area where development would not take place – its a cheaper option than buying someones property to save 1 tree.

        • Wensleydale

          This is a kauri tree. You can’t just pop down to King’s Plant Barn and say, “Morning Helen! I’ll take that lovely kauri in the pot over there, thanks!”

        • Draco T Bastard

          ianmac, why are you comparing apples with oranges?

          He’s not.

          If you do something that affects someone else then that someone else has full veto rights to stop you. Doesn’t matter if it’s on your property or not.

          Shari, I’d sell it for more than what its worth too, if someone opposes me from developing my property within the guidelines of the council rules.

          The problem is, of course, that the RWNJs have been undermining the rules so that people can do whatever they want ignoring that basic human right I mentioned above.

          • indiana

            “If you do something that affects someone else then that someone else has full veto rights to stop you. Doesn’t matter if it’s on your property or not.”

            The sheer lunacy of this statement means that a person that lives in Wellington can stop a tree being felled in Auckland just because it “affects” them. Oh wait I’m comparing apples to oranges….my bad. By the way, cutting down a tree to build another house has nothing to do with human rights.

            • Draco T Bastard

              The sheer lunacy of this statement means that a person that lives in Wellington can stop a tree being felled in Auckland just because it “affects” them.

              No they can’t because cutting a tree down in Auckland doesn’t affect anyone in Wellington.

              By the way, cutting down a tree to build another house has nothing to do with human rights.

              Of course it does. It has to do with the right to live in a liveable community.

    • Rewa 1.3

      How is Cornwall park protected?

    • Andre 1.4

      The sole parliamentary representative of a party of fundamentalist property rights extremists has said “No, what I’m arguing for is if the people of Epsom have bought into certain property rights and the character of their community. And when people buy…”

      Why does that apply to Epsom, but not to me and my neighbours?

      Read more:

      Furthermore, as far as I can tell, zoning for the area allows up to 150 sqm of bush per section (for small sections like those) to be cleared for a building site. Eyeballing what’s been cleared, I estimate around 450 sqm per section has actually been cleared, with more trees marked with a fluoro X still for the chop. How did that happen?

    • Erika 1.5

      FYI: the urban forest consists of every tree that exists, regardless of property ownership, in the urban environment limits, as defined by the study, management and field of urban forestry in N America.

  2. weka 2

    Anyone know what’s happened to the tree? And the people who ringbarked it?

  3. savenz 3

    +1 Johno Smith – Good on you for trying to save this ancient tree.

    Any news on the developers and why burying the tree in a 70 page report and being able to refer to it as ‘high grade vegetation’ is still allowable?

    Has the Auckland council planners learnt any lessons from the debacle – probably NOT.

    The way Auckland council planner interpret the planning rules are to charge a fortune to give the resource consent but not bother to actually mitigate any effects to the environment and neighbours or place any importance to the significance of the area (i.e. Titirangi known for bush). Soon Titirangi will be New Lynn.

    Maybe the New Lynn homeless youths can camp there.

    Nice to know you can ringbark a tree before a judicial review and get away with it as a developer.

  4. greywarshark 4

    This is the sort of attitude that applied when settlers first came to NZ. and I am talking about after Maori. What people who arrived in a people powered canoe that they rowed and sailed themselves with their own charts and seasmanship did, would be understandable for then.

    Story in local about a neighbour drilling into shelterbelt trees for an orchard and using diesel to kill them. They know who was the likely man, police have spoken to him.
    He denies it and appears likely to get away with it. In these times with trees being so important this is a serious crime, and someone cutting down a long established tree or interfering with trees that are part of someone’s business plan and particularly when established before the neighbour bought, need to be dealt with severely.
    See p5 on
    (I think it will be accessible on this link.)

    I wonder if there if Johno needs help with his expenses? And how.

    • Katy 4.1

      Yes he does- there is one man collecting for him .. If you follow him on Facebook you can see that..

  5. Clare Elliott 5

    This vandalism-the felling of ancient trees-just recently passed-probably on the urgings of various interested parties,like property speculators,who have destroyed so much else of our scant heritage….is endorsed by the ridiculous excuse for a council that has made a mess of Auckland’s’other treasures-the waterfront,soon the domain…and -from personal experience-totally destroyed the americas Cup in 2000…they are a bunch of sad self interested businessmen-small,grey men-with no vision or humanity…I’m embarrassed to be an Aucklander-especially after reading the drivel in the thread.-..

  6. Ad 6

    Good on you Jono. This developer will not win.

    The Auckland Council do not have anywhere near enough real environmentalists elected.

    Whoever is Councillor in Auckland’s Waitakere Ward: you are now an electoral target this year. Believe it.

  7. One Anonymous Bloke 7

    I hope this ensures citizens will be better prepared next time.

    The obvious response to the ringbarking once it’s occurred is to make sure the landowners face the consequences. If the courts can’t help perhaps market forces can be brought to bear. Failing that, I’m a big fan of monkeywrenching and other forms of self-defence. Not everyone’s cup of tea but.

  8. Scott M 8

    Any blame lies squarely at the feet of National Party.

    They banned tree protections in district plans and then step back and let the Council take the rap.

    Typical cowardly/ dishonest behaviour by them.

  9. maui 9

    Legend, along with Tavares who kickstarted this. I’m sure there are many locals who have worked in the background as well to bring attention to this.

  10. Phil Bonham 10

    I read enough comments to want to add my bit. A man’s (or woman’s) home is his his/her castle, is an old saying that many relate to, including myself. However, it is not true that one can do whatever you want on your own urban property – the council will have all kinds of restrictions on what you can build, alter, take down, landscape, and even plant. This will vary from town to town and even within the different zones of a town. Titirangi, the town in question, has a special character of being next to a large forest reserve. Many of the houses and even central parts of town have youngish kauri trees that make Titirangi the delight that it is. With the changes to regulations city wide, it would be a shame to see a president for home owners in special character areas to remove these slow growing native trees

    On the other hand, long term, it is obvious that all of these trees can’t be left to live and die at maturity because they would be so huge that no sunlight or or infrastructure for human habitation would exist. Therefore, the regulations need to be tailored to each district and community so that both the trees and community can be effectively sustained without willy nilly eradication of trees.

    • Scott M 10.1

      Very reasonable position Phil. And yet that is the very approach the National Party legislated against.

      Even if the majority of residents in Titirangi decided they wished to protect established trees in their neighbourhood as part of the character of the area, the Council is prohibited from doing so by the RMA!

  11. left for deadshark 11

    All those in support of Jonno , big up’s, RWNJ’s,…head shake, with rights, comes responsibility.
    Stop being plonkers. 👿

  12. Mich 12

    Vancouver had a similar issue to Auckland; both developers and home buyers, of existing properties, were removing trees from private properties.

    So, in 2014 Malcolm Bromley, the city’s general manager of parks addressed the issue for Vancouver by introducing a new bylaw about tree removal from Private Property. This bylaw does not just cover ‘Protected’ trees as in Auckland.

    “We are doing this because since 1996 over 23,000 healthy trees — at least eight inches in diameter at chest height — have been removed, which isn’t helping our objective of stopping the decline in the tree (canopy) and of growing an urban forest in Vancouver,” According to a report to council, there has been a drastic decline in the city’s forest canopy since 1996, with most of the decline occurring on private property.

    The council’s bylaw……’affects all private property owners in Vancouver wanting to remove a tree. If you want to remove a tree, you need a tree removal permit for every tree that has a diameter (width) of 20 cm or greater, measured at 1.4 m above the ground. A tree trunk with a diameter of 20 cm will have a circumference of approximately 64 cm.’

    I understand that to introduce this type of bylaw would mean an increase in council administration; however the council needs to start somewhere to stop, as Phil Bonham says, the willy nilly eradication of trees.

  13. Bonito 13

    Well done Johno Smith and Michael Tavares before him. Most of Titirangi like these sections are Significant Ecological Areas and protected by the Waitakere Ranges Heritage Area Act. Has everyone forgotten the millions of dollars our Government is spending on Kauri Dieback meanwhile consents like these are being granted by Auckland Council to fell healthy Kauri. What a waste of our money!

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • $24 million boost for Gumboot Friday
    Thousands more young New Zealanders will have better access to mental health services as the Government delivers on its commitment to fund the Gumboot Friday initiative, says Deputy Prime Minister Winston Peters and Mental Health Minister Matt Doocey.  “Budget 2024 will provide $24 million over four years to contract the ...
    2 hours ago
  • Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill passes first reading
    The Coalition Government’s Residential Tenancies Amendment Bill, which will improve tenancy laws and help increase the supply of rental properties, has passed its first reading in Parliament says Housing Minister Chris Bishop. “The Bill proposes much-needed changes to the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 that will remove barriers to increasing private ...
    13 hours ago
  • Montecassino Commemorative Address, Cassino War Cemetery
    Standing here in Cassino War Cemetery, among the graves looking up at the beautiful Abbey of Montecassino, it is hard to imagine the utter devastation left behind by the battles which ended here in May 1944. Hundreds of thousands of shells and bombs of every description left nothing but piled ...
    13 hours ago
  • First Reading – Repeal of Section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act 1989
    I present a legislative statement on the Oranga Tamariki (Repeal of Section 7AA) Amendment Bill Mr. Speaker, I move that the Oranga Tamariki (Repeal of Section 7AA) Amendment Bill be now read a first time. I nominate the Social Services and Community Committee to consider the Bill. Thank you, Mr. ...
    16 hours ago
  • First reading of 7AA’s repeal: progress for children
    The Bill to repeal Section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act has had its first reading in Parliament today. The Bill reaffirms the Coalition Government’s commitment to the care and safety of children in care, says Minister for Children Karen Chhour.  “When I became the Minister for Children, I made ...
    17 hours ago
  • China Business Summit 2024
    Kia ora koutou, good morning, and zao shang hao. Thank you Fran for the opportunity to speak at the 2024 China Business Summit – it’s great to be here today. I’d also like to acknowledge: Simon Bridges - CEO of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce. His Excellency Ambassador - Wang ...
    19 hours ago
  • Assisted depatures from New Caledonia
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has confirmed a New Zealand Government plane will head to New Caledonia in the next hour in the first in a series of proposed flights to begin bringing New Zealanders home.    “New Zealanders in New Caledonia have faced a challenging few days - and bringing ...
    24 hours ago
  • Assisted departures from New Caledonia
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has confirmed a New Zealand Government plane will head to New Caledonia in the next hour in the first in a series of proposed flights to begin bringing New Zealanders home.  “New Zealanders in New Caledonia have faced a challenging few days - and bringing them ...
    24 hours ago
  • Government to rollout roadside drug testing
    The Coalition Government will introduce legislation this year that will enable roadside drug testing as part of our commitment to improve road safety and restore law and order, Transport Minister Simeon Brown says.  “Alcohol and drugs are the number one contributing factor in fatal road crashes in New Zealand. In ...
    2 days ago
  • Minister responds to review of Kāinga Ora
    The Government has announced a series of immediate actions in response to the independent review of Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities, Housing Minister Chris Bishop says. “Kāinga Ora is a large and important Crown entity, with assets of $45 billion and over $2.5 billion of expenditure each year. It ...
    2 days ago
  • Pseudoephedrine back on shelves
    Associate Health Minister David Seymour is pleased that Pseudoephedrine can now be purchased by the general public to protect them from winter illness, after the coalition government worked swiftly to change the law and oversaw a fast approval process by Medsafe. “Pharmacies are now putting the medicines back on their ...
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand-China Business Summit
    Tēnā koutou katoa. Da jia hao.  Good morning everyone.   Prime Minister Luxon, your excellency, a great friend of New Zealand and my friend Ambassador Wang, Mayor of what he tells me is the best city in New Zealand, Wayne Brown, the highly respected Fran O’Sullivan, Champion of the Auckland business ...
    2 days ago
  • New measures to protect powerlines from trees
    Energy Minister Simeon Brown has announced that the Government will make it easier for lines firms to take action to remove vegetation from obstructing local powerlines. The change will ensure greater security of electricity supply in local communities, particularly during severe weather events.  “Trees or parts of trees falling on ...
    4 days ago
  • Wairarapa Moana ki Pouakani win top Māori dairy farming award
    Wairarapa Moana ki Pouakani were the top winners at this year’s Ahuwhenua Trophy awards recognising the best in Māori dairy farming. Māori Development Minister Tama Potaka announced the winners and congratulated runners-up, Whakatōhea Māori Trust Board, at an awards celebration also attended by Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and Finance Minister ...
    4 days ago
  • DJ Fred Again – Assurance report received
    "On the 27th of March, I sought assurances from the Chief Executive, Department of Internal Affairs, that the Department’s correct processes and policies had been followed in regards to a passport application which received media attention,” says Minister of Internal Affairs Brooke van Velden.  “I raised my concerns after being ...
    5 days ago
  • District Court Judges appointed
    Attorney-General Judith Collins has announced the appointment of three new District Court Judges, to replace Judges who have recently retired. Peter James Davey of Auckland has been appointed a District Court Judge with a jury jurisdiction to be based at Whangarei. Mr Davey initially started work as a law clerk/solicitor with ...
    5 days ago
  • Unions should put learning ahead of ideology
    Associate Education Minister David Seymour is calling on the Post Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) to put ideology to the side and focus on students’ learning, in reaction to the union holding paid teacher meetings across New Zealand about charter schools.     “The PPTA is disrupting schools up and down the ...
    5 days ago
  • Craig Stobo appointed as chair of FMA
    Commerce and Consumer Affairs Minister Andrew Bayly today announced the appointment of Craig Stobo as the new chair of the Financial Markets Authority (FMA). Mr Stobo takes over from Mark Todd, whose term expired at the end of April. Mr Stobo’s appointment is for a five-year term. “The FMA plays ...
    5 days ago
  • Budget 2024 invests in lifeguards and coastguard
    Surf Life Saving New Zealand and Coastguard New Zealand will continue to be able to keep people safe in, on, and around the water following a funding boost of $63.644 million over four years, Transport Minister Simeon Brown and Associate Transport Minister Matt Doocey say. “Heading to the beach for ...
    5 days ago
  • New Zealand and Tuvalu reaffirm close relationship
    New Zealand and Tuvalu have reaffirmed their close relationship, Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters says.  “New Zealand is committed to working with Tuvalu on a shared vision of resilience, prosperity and security, in close concert with Australia,” says Mr Peters, who last visited Tuvalu in 2019.  “It is my pleasure ...
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand calls for calm, constructive dialogue in New Caledonia
    New Zealand is gravely concerned about the situation in New Caledonia, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.  “The escalating situation and violent protests in Nouméa are of serious concern across the Pacific Islands region,” Mr Peters says.  “The immediate priority must be for all sides to take steps to de-escalate the ...
    6 days ago
  • New Zealand welcomes Samoa Head of State
    Prime Minister Christopher Luxon met today with Samoa’s O le Ao o le Malo, Afioga Tuimalealiifano Vaaletoa Sualauvi II, who is making a State Visit to New Zealand. “His Highness and I reflected on our two countries’ extensive community links, with Samoan–New Zealanders contributing to all areas of our national ...
    6 days ago
  • Island Direct eligible for SuperGold Card funding
    Transport Minister Simeon Brown has announced that he has approved Waiheke Island ferry operator Island Direct to be eligible for SuperGold Card funding, paving the way for a commercial agreement to bring the operator into the scheme. “Island Direct started operating in November 2023, offering an additional option for people ...
    6 days ago
  • Further sanctions against Russia
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters today announced further sanctions on 28 individuals and 14 entities providing military and strategic support for Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  “Russia is directly supported by its military-industrial complex in its illegal aggression against Ukraine, attacking its sovereignty and territorial integrity. New Zealand condemns all entities and ...
    6 days ago
  • One year on from Loafers Lodge
    A year on from the tragedy at Loafers Lodge, the Government is working hard to improve building fire safety, Building and Construction Minister Chris Penk says. “I want to share my sincere condolences with the families and friends of the victims on the anniversary of the tragic fire at Loafers ...
    6 days ago
  • Pre-Budget speech to Auckland Business Chamber
    Ka nui te mihi kia koutou. Kia ora and good afternoon, everyone. Thank you so much for having me here in the lead up to my Government’s first Budget. Before I get started can I acknowledge: Simon Bridges – Auckland Business Chamber CEO. Steve Jurkovich – Kiwibank CEO. Kids born ...
    7 days ago
  • New Zealand and Vanuatu to deepen collaboration
    New Zealand and Vanuatu will enhance collaboration on issues of mutual interest, Foreign Minister Winston Peters says.    “It is important to return to Port Vila this week with a broad, high-level political delegation which demonstrates our deep commitment to New Zealand’s relationship with Vanuatu,” Mr Peters says.    “This ...
    7 days ago
  • Penk travels to Peru for trade meetings
    Minister for Land Information, Chris Penk will travel to Peru this week to represent New Zealand at a meeting of trade ministers from the Asia-Pacific region on behalf of Trade Minister Todd McClay. The annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting will be held on 17-18 May ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister attends global education conferences
    Minister of Education Erica Stanford will head to the United Kingdom this week to participate in the 22nd Conference of Commonwealth Education Ministers (CCEM) and the 2024 Education World Forum (EWF). “I am looking forward to sharing this Government’s education priorities, such as introducing a knowledge-rich curriculum, implementing an evidence-based ...
    1 week ago
  • Education Minister thanks outgoing NZQA Chair
    Minister of Education Erica Stanford has today thanked outgoing New Zealand Qualifications Authority Chair, Hon Tracey Martin. “Tracey Martin tendered her resignation late last month in order to take up a new role,” Ms Stanford says. Ms Martin will relinquish the role of Chair on 10 May and current Deputy ...
    1 week ago
  • Joint statement of Christopher Luxon and Emmanuel Macron: Launch of the Christchurch Call Foundation
    New Zealand Prime Minister Christopher Luxon and President Emmanuel Macron of France today announced a new non-governmental organisation, the Christchurch Call Foundation, to coordinate the Christchurch Call’s work to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.   This change gives effect to the outcomes of the November 2023 Call Leaders’ Summit, ...
    1 week ago
  • Panel announced for review into disability services
    Distinguished public servant and former diplomat Sir Maarten Wevers will lead the independent review into the disability support services administered by the Ministry of Disabled People – Whaikaha. The review was announced by Disability Issues Minister Louise Upston a fortnight ago to examine what could be done to strengthen the ...
    1 week ago
  • Minister welcomes Police gang unit
    Today’s announcement by Police Commissioner Andrew Coster of a National Gang Unit and district Gang Disruption Units will help deliver on the coalition Government’s pledge to restore law and order and crack down on criminal gangs, Police Minister Mark Mitchell says. “The National Gang Unit and Gang Disruption Units will ...
    1 week ago
  • New Zealand expresses regret at North Korea’s aggressive rhetoric
    Foreign Minister Winston Peters has today expressed regret at North Korea’s aggressive rhetoric towards New Zealand and its international partners.  “New Zealand proudly stands with the international community in upholding the rules-based order through its monitoring and surveillance deployments, which it has been regularly doing alongside partners since 2018,” Mr ...
    1 week ago
  • New Chief of Defence Force appointed
    Air Vice-Marshal Tony Davies MNZM is the new Chief of Defence Force, Defence Minister Judith Collins announced today. The Chief of Defence Force commands the Navy, Army and Air Force and is the principal military advisor to the Defence Minister and other Ministers with relevant portfolio responsibilities in the defence ...
    1 week ago
  • Government puts children first by repealing 7AA
    Legislation to repeal section 7AA of the Oranga Tamariki Act has been introduced to Parliament. The Bill’s introduction reaffirms the Coalition Government’s commitment to the safety of children in care, says Minister for Children, Karen Chhour. “While section 7AA was introduced with good intentions, it creates a conflict for Oranga ...
    1 week ago
  • Defence Minister to meet counterparts in UK, Italy
    Defence Minister Judith Collins will this week travel to the UK and Italy to meet with her defence counterparts, and to attend Battles of Cassino commemorations. “I am humbled to be able to represent the New Zealand Government in Italy at the commemorations for the 80th anniversary of what was ...
    1 week ago
  • Charter schools to lift educational outcomes
    The upcoming Budget will include funding for up to 50 charter schools to help lift declining educational performance, Associate Education Minister David Seymour announced today. $153 million in new funding will be provided over four years to establish and operate up to 15 new charter schools and convert 35 state ...
    1 week ago
  • COVID-19 Inquiry terms of reference consultation results received
    “The results of the public consultation on the terms of reference for the Royal Commission into COVID-19 Lessons has now been received, with results indicating over 13,000 submissions were made from members of the public,” Internal Affairs Minister Brooke van Velden says. “We heard feedback about the extended lockdowns in ...
    1 week ago
  • The Pacific family of nations – the changing security outlook
    Foreign Minister, Defence Minister, other Members of Parliament Acting Chief of Defence Force, Secretary of Defence Distinguished Guests  Defence and Diplomatic Colleagues  Ladies and Gentlemen,  Good afternoon, tēna koutou, apinun tru    It’s a pleasure to be back in Port Moresby today, and to speak here at the Kumul Leadership ...
    1 week ago

Page generated in The Standard by Wordpress at 2024-05-21T23:47:37+00:00