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Save the Paturoa Kauri

Written By: - Date published: 7:00 am, March 12th, 2015 - 63 comments
Categories: national - Tags: ,

Tane Titirangi-6

A message from the #SaveourKauri team

He Kauri

He Rangatira

E tu

Thank you so much. We’ve been overwhelmed by your support – two years ago we were a small group of neighbours and residents shocked that anyone could contemplate cutting down a 500 year old Kauri, but this last week we’ve grown into a movement over 25,000 strong, adamant that our taonga deserve protection. We won’t stop until our Kauri is safe. We’re here for the long haul, to #SaveOurKauri.

We want to update you on developments at 40 Paturoa Road. Today we really got a sense of how hard this could be, when a Police car and van crawled past us. Michael has already been trespassed, and we know that if he’s removed from the tree and arrested, the Kauri is no longer safe.

That’s why we need your help. Please email Len Brown and the Auckland Councillors now, urging them to find a solution that will let our kauri stand for another 500 years. You may want to write your own letter but feel free to use this one:

To: len.brown@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; john.watson@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; wayne.walker@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; cathy.casey@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; christine.fletcher@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; bill.cashmore@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; dick.quax@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; arthur.anae@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; sharon.stewart@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; alf.filipaina@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; calum.penrose@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; john.walker@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; denise.krum@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; chris.darby@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; george.wood@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; cameron.brewer@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; penny.webster@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; linda.cooper@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; penny.hulse@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; mike.lee@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz; ross.clow @aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

Dear Len & Auckland Councillors,

Thank you for your efforts so far to #SaveOurKauri, however I’m writing to you to urge you to do more. This afternoon the tree was visited by several Police vehicles, and we still lack a long term solution to this Kauri’s protection. The situation is precarious, and we could be days from losing our ability to save the Kauri for generations to come.

Please don’t let that happen.

This cannot be the new normal, we need to save the Kauri for future generations and put in place processes immediately to make sure it doesn’t happen again.

Thank you …

 

It is crucial over coming days that we maintain our presence at the site. We can #SaveOurKauri if we keep our numbers up, so please come down to support Michael and the whole team. The Facebook event is here, and we’d love to see you at 7am every morning, or whenever you can make it.

TOMORROW we need a crew at the site, so please if you can go there. However we are also presenting the petition to the Auckland Council tomorrow morning. We will gather outside the Auckland Town Hall at 9am – if you can join us, bring a sign, bring a friend or three and stand with us to #SaveOurKauri!!

Thank you again for all your support. We couldn’t do this without you.

Kia kaha.

The #SaveOurKauri team.

Update:  In the Herald this morning the owners have promised to save the trees, sort of.  The details will obviously be all important.

Update2:  Michael Tavares is now on solid ground and is visiting the New Lynn Police station to have a chat.

 

And Auckland Council has voted 10 to 9 not to support the Waitakere Ranges Local Board’s opposition to the felling of the Kauri and the Rimu.  Surprisingly Waitakere Councillors Linda Cooper and Penny Hulse as well as Mayor Len Brown voted against providing support.

63 comments on “Save the Paturoa Kauri ”

  1. Paul 1

    Great news.
    It’s saved.
    Now we need to look at changing the law back to the way it was when trees like this were automatically protected.

    • tracey 1.1

      WHY we don’t consider Kauri equivalent to Kiwi, only some of our idiot law makers know.

      • weka 1.1.1

        Pretty sure we sacrifice native birds worse than trees 🙁 Consider how many bird species are on the decline/in danger of extinction lists compared to tree species. We want conservation when it suits us but we don’t want to limit or change our lives to have it.

        • tracey 1.1.1.1

          I was specifically asking about the Kiwi for a reason. I think even our PM would have jumped into that debate…

          • weka 1.1.1.1.1

            Why were you asking about kiwi?

            We’re still in the transition from thinking saving individual species is conservation to understanding that it’s all about the ecosystem. We still destroy ecosystems where kiwi live in the same way that we do with kauri. The way to save both is to preserve the whole ecosystem. I think kauri felling is just more visible than kiwi decline.

    • mickysavage 1.2

      Looks like it is close Paul but if you reread the letter it is more of an introductory offer than a promise that the tree will be preserved. We need some more certainty.

      • weka 1.2.1

        “…we don’t want to play the games of others, games of blame, conflict and abuse, instead we have been trying to come up with solutions where no-one loses everything but we all compromise,” the letter says.

        This certainly doesn’t speak to me of good faith from the professional developers who claim they have a long history of working in good ways.

        I posted the following last night on the other thread,

        weka
        11 March 2015 at 6:20 pm

        The owners have made a statement saying they followed due process and are good environmentally aware architects. Apparently the issue is over off street parking. My guess thus far is that this comes down to investment concerns. Why sub divide at all if you can’t design two houses on the land without chopping down heritage trees? Or just build smaller houses. As usual it’s about money.

        From the video, the developers want to put two two storied buildings, 8m above the ground, and two double garages with ramps on a very steep 1 in 3 slope, on a property covered in native bush.

        If that’s true, and if the developers have spent a long time and a lot of money to get the consent and now they have to change their plans substantially, what’s going to give? My understanding from looking at the video is that there are a lot of trees in the section. Just saying.

        (various edits)

        • weka 1.2.1.1

          I haven’t had time yet to read the full article, but it looks like developers’ solution is to be bought out.

          They haven’t saved the trees. The protestors saved the trees (possibly). The developers want to walk away from the situation.

          Please stop calling them owners, as far as I can tell they’re not building for themselves. They’re developers.

          • tracey 1.2.1.1.1

            developers who own the land.

            I apologise their “clients” are the owners (I assume). They call themselves Architects working for clients…

            • weka 1.2.1.1.1.1

              There are significant politics in this situation, including class ones. Are we going to call the people doing other developments ‘owners’ now?

              • tracey

                see above, I editted.

                Well, to answer your question, the letter describes them as architects working for clients. The clients would be the developers I guess.

                • ghostwhowalksnz

                  At a guess, the ‘owners’ would be their own family trust.

                  Thats how these things are done

          • miravox 1.2.1.1.2

            http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11415759

            The first house the year we got married, and I became a partner in RCG Ltd where I still work today. The second house we built 15 years ago and is the house our kids have grown up in. Both houses were on challenging sites…

            …We wanted to be part of changing all this in our own small but optimistic way, so along with helping our clients achieve this, we thought we would try and build again and be our own client. We came across 2 lovely sites on Paturoa Rd and again they were “Architects sites”.

            The are their own clients? i.e. they are the architects – the developers – the clients – and the owners of the site?

            All a bit weird this wording.

            • weka 1.2.1.1.2.1

              that is confusing, but it wouldn’t surprise me if being one’s own client = developer 😉

            • tracey 1.2.1.1.2.2

              Agree the letter is very confusing. Probably because in trying to work in their “humaness” they have confused the issue further. I do know they wanted to cut down a Rimu and Kauri tree for off-road parking (which suggests road parking is available), which rather flies in the face of some of their other claims.

              And yes (Weka) they say they want compensation for the land, which means they are not architects working for clients.

            • ghostwhowalksnz 1.2.1.1.2.3

              Think of the words ‘family trust’ and the whole separate developer architect thing becomes clearer

            • Rosie 1.2.1.1.2.4

              It is a bizarre letter. First you have to work out what their relationship with the land actually is. I came to the conclusion they are the owners, who just happen to be architects. They seem to be very proud of that fact and refer to this architect status frequently, as if it sets apart from the ordinary person and instills them with a greater sense of entitlement.

              I find it odd that they go into so much personal detail about their lives instead of focusing on the nuts and bolts of the situation. They are trying to elicit sympathy by opening up. I think they feel confused and somehow hard done by and want people to be on their side.

              Above all I think they are naive about the sanctity and cultural and environmental value of such grand old tree’s and the public’s sense of protectiveness towards the tree’s.

              Grant Robertson, during his radio interview this morning in response to this case, made the point that this couple are “on the wrong side of history”, meaning they are out of touch, and their thinking is in the past.

              I’d agree. I hope they can learn something from this.

              • s y d

                As an aside, only Mr Lenihan is allowed to use the title ‘architect’.
                Ms Greensmith, despite the claims made in their open letter, is not registered with the NZRAB and so is leaving herself open to complaints to the board….

                • Rosie

                  Thats interesting syd. Professional bodies are not usually too fond of people going around masquerading as members of their profession, even if it is simply a lapsed registration. They need to protect their integrity and loose cannons are unhelpful to that.

        • Naturesong 1.2.1.2

          Any new build in this area will result on tree felling.

          While I’m sure there are residents nearby that do not want any more building in the forest, most people are accepting of development as long as it doesn’t cause too much damage to the canopy and surrounding ecosystem – the Waitakere forest is an incredibly important piece of natural infrastructure for Auckland.

          • weka 1.2.1.2.1

            “Any new build in this area will result on tree felling.”

            Sure, but that’s not what this issue is about.

            Looking at the video, the site has already been cleared (trees already cut down). So on this particular site there is an opportunity.

            “While I’m sure there are residents nearby that do not want any more building in the forest, most people are accepting of development as long as it doesn’t cause too much damage to the canopy and surrounding ecosystem – the Waitakere forest is an incredibly important piece of natural infrastructure for Auckland.”

            Yes. But I’m guessing that investment is still the priority. It will be a pretty pricey place to buy land and all the flow on effects of that. We still don’t design ecologically, we design to do the least damage while still getting what we want.

        • One Anonymous Bloke 1.2.1.3

          The first New Zealand artist to sell a work overseas for over $1M can’t get swamp Kauri to carve because that corrupt cabal is exporting it all to China.

          As he said (Weka’s video link below): it’s illegal. No ten hour police raids at the Collins residence.

          • Murray Rawshark 1.2.1.3.1

            I don’t think Oravida is exporting swamp kauri at the moment. They’re stockpiling it, waiting for the price to go up.

          • Cancerman 1.2.1.3.2

            Perhaps a Chinese buyer could buy the property off the current developer. They get a Kauri deal and property deal in one go and they won’t give two s^*% about the local reaction.
            Whats the bet it goes this way?

        • tracey 1.2.1.4

          I am sure some people looking for affordable homes won’t mind parkong on the road, walking past a Kauri, to get tot heir brand new home?

          • weka 1.2.1.4.1

            It would be an issue for many people with a disability. I’d still design around the trees though.

            • tracey 1.2.1.4.1.1

              If they could get parking without losing the tree the planners probably would have pushed that option.

              Yes, a problem for people with a disability but there is no obligation (to my knowledge) imposed by our society to have such access for residential homes. Shit, even in Christchurch Joyce and Brownliee changed stuff so that commercial rebuilds dont have to take account of disability.

              • weka

                “If they could get parking without losing the tree the planners probably would have pushed that option.”

                Or they supported the design for profit. Build a smaller house if you want parking next to it (or under it).

                “Yes, a problem for people with a disability but there is no obligation (to my knowledge) imposed by our society to have such access for residential homes.”

                True, I’m just resisting the developing meme that everyone can walk to and from the street 🙂

      • Naturesong 1.2.2

        Yeah, the letter is a study in passive aggressiveness.

        A couple of things are clear from the letter;
        1. The architects are bowing to public pressure – likely a business decision.
        An architect who is happy to cut down a 500 year old kauri (apparently only 70 years old according to their knowledgeable neighbour) and a 300 year old rimu is the architect that I, and many people I know would never go to – I’d draft the bloody thing myself rather than take my business to these vandals.
        I suspect the damage to their business will last for a few years. And rightly so – anyone who wants a house that actally works with the land that it’s built on, will be avoiding these folks like the plague.

        2. They really have no idea why there is so much public pressure – they seem to be genuinely surprised by it all.

        Apparently they had no other choice, they just had to cut down the trees that resided within these 2 sections in a secluded spot in the rain forest because … affordable housing!?
        Seriously?
        That’s National Party levels of reality distortion right there.

        • tracey 1.2.2.1

          to find out if it will be affordable housing, go and search the capital value of houses in that road at the Auckland Council website…

          brief glance suggests current homes of 600 to 700k… didnt look at whole road and don’t the address of this one.

          http://www.aucklandcouncil.govt.nz/EN/ratesbuildingproperty/ratesvaluations/ratespropertysearch/pages/RatesSearch.aspx

          IF it is about affordable housing, I am sure some people looking for their first home won’t mind having to walk from the car to their house past a kauri tree.

        • weka 1.2.2.2

          “Yeah, the letter is a study in passive aggressiveness.”

          Yep, and in the end all they’re saying is ‘we want bought out and compensation for our trouble’, but they’ve clothed it in a whole bunch of self pity and professional class values around what’s important as if those apply to the rest of the population.

          • tracey 1.2.2.2.1

            yup, and omitted the bit where other people in the street park on the road and walk tot heir homes… don’t buy amongst trees if you want trees to go…

        • ghostwhowalksnz 1.2.2.3

          Greensmith has her architectural practice in the Titirangi West Auckland area.

          Shes ruining her business by her head in the sand attitude.

          Then again, if as likely its her family trust thats the ‘developer’, it comes down to money, she has a reputation as being a hard arse to those who deal with her

        • Rosie 1.2.2.4

          +1 Naturesong. Agreed.

  2. weka 2

    This is turning into a pretty interesting protest, and they look well organised.

    Video interviews with people at the tree site. Other trees were felled on Friday, and the protest is to stop the final three from being downed.

    “We’re here to stand up for what seems like a very simple right to live amongst nature”.

    From the video, the developers want to put two two storied buildings, 8m above the ground, and two double garages with ramps on a very steep 1 in 3 slope, on a property covered in native bush.

    One guy points out that the residents of the area would never get away with taking those trees out, it’s the developers that have been given permission.

    Nice bit at 9:30 on Collins’ husband exporting all the swamp kauri to China.
    Reply

    Background on the developers and the actions taking by various Waitakere people (2013 article).

    http://piha.co.nz/bestwest/2013/04/council-to-defend-tree-rules-in-laingholmtitirangi/

  3. tracey 3

    Save a tree…

    NOw, Save some kids!
    One week left til the vote

    http://www.feedthekids.org.nz/take_action?utm_campaign=ftk-mt&utm_campaign=ftk_subs_lstask&utm_medium=email&utm_medium=email&utm_source=ftk-email-link1&utm_source=nzgreens


    Thanks so much for supporting my Bill to get hungry kids fed at school. With only one week left to the vote we need your help.
    We want the National Party to support my Bill to Select Committee stage so that MPs can hear from parents, teachers, health practitioners and others, about what they think are the best solutions for getting kids fed at school.
    For a fraction of the amount of money that National found to spend on six bridges in Northland we could feed every hungry kid in New Zealand, let alone the nine schools in Northland waiting for help.
    In the six weeks since school started this year 1,000 more kids have been added to the KidsCan waiting list for lunches. We have a national emergency on our hands. We urgently need National to support my Bill to Select Committee stage so that we can find the best solutions for getting kids fed at school.
    Help us to raise awareness about the need for food in schools by changing your Facebook profile picture to this one and/or send a letter to the editor of your local paper.
    Thank you,

    Metiera”

  4. Penny Bright 4

    YAY!

    ‘People power’!

    One stubborn bugger up a tree – refusing to budge – and a cast of thousands in support = VICTORY!

    Good on the owners for changing their position and agreeing not to cut down these ionic trees.

    Well done.

    Cheers!

    Penny Bright

    • tracey 4.1

      Why oh WHY won’t you read other posts in a thread before leaping in. IF you had you would find a fascinating discussion about

      A. Whether the tree has been saved; and
      B. What the developers (Weka 😉 ) want in return

  5. cricklewood 5

    Have to say I’m fairly uncomfortable at the level of opprobrium the land owners/developers have faced. Whilst removing the large Kauri is undesirable the startling fact for me is that the council allowed it, I feel the real story lies with how and why the consent for removal was ever issued.

    As a side note the continued reference to the tree been 500 years old both here and the msm is irritating me somewhat. All the experts I have heard on the radio etc put the tree at between 100 and 150 years old. Certainly the form and size of the tree support this when compared to specimens of a planted in parks around nz of around 125 years ago.

    • ghostwhowalksnz 5.1

      Easy to find out, a simple coring and tree aging from a dendochronologist. Its done all the time.
      In a bush setting the tree has a big struggle to reach above the canopy, which doesnt happen in a specimen tree setting. So its early growth is much slower.

      Dont feel sorry for the owners, ordinary people would have had a roadblock from a council planners negative report ( which occurred in this case) but somehow they found a few sympathetic ears in council to bend in their favour. If they dont want to play by the rules but use back channels then they gotta take the consequences.

      • shorts 5.1.1

        I don’t see how the age of the tree should matter, other than it would be nice (and rare) for all those commenting and the media to have the same figure

        would it be acceptable to fell the tree if it was only 75 years old?
        what about if it was 30 years old?

    • weka 5.2

      “Have to say I’m fairly uncomfortable at the level of opprobrium the land owners/developers have faced. Whilst removing the large Kauri is undesirable the startling fact for me is that the council allowed it, I feel the real story lies with how and why the consent for removal was ever issued.”

      One of the locals points out in the video that the local residents would never have gotten permission to do something like this. The developers have said they’ve done everything legally, but I would guess they’ve also used their influence and experience to make this happen as well. Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it should happen. Think dairy farming, where there is virutally no public input at all into decision making that is obviously well within the common good.

      So for me there are multiple valid aspects. One is the law changes that have meant it’s harder to get trees protected. One is the process that the AC used in this particular instance. And one is what the developers have done despite significant opposition from the comunity.

      • tracey 5.2.1

        Developers go through a separate part of Council to ordinary folks. That is certainly how it works with Building Consents. IF you are a developer you get a “number” and that means when it is seen on your application it goes to a different group which deals only with “commercial” (developers). A dedicated team to deliver speed and efficiency.

        • Rosie 5.2.1.1

          “Developers go through a separate part of Council to ordinary folks.”

          Really Tracey? Thats interesting, but actually, of course it’s not surprising, and of course they would need to streamline procedures for mass development as opposed to a person wanting to build a single dwelling on a site.

          I am trying to learn all I can about developers and their relationships with councils, and how to get councils to listen to the resident’s concerns. Sadly, after experiencing what I have on the development where I live, I was unsurprised that Akld council granted consent to cut those tree’s down.

          Why does it appear that councils have disturbingly cosy relationships with developers? Are they after the rates from those properties and just see the $$$? Is that what happened in Titirangi?

          I reckon thats what happening here where I live. A 500 lot development on a tree less scarred landscape, with not one but three medium density housing projects within the development. Thirty nine townhouses on one lot, going up as we speak, Fifty one townhouses and units on another and an undisclosed number on another. All miles away from the nearest amenities.

          I had no idea all this was going ahead otherwise I would have never bought here. Now it’s full stream ahead trying to redress the power imbalance between residents and developer and trying to get past the brick wall at council to get information, let alone get our grievances across.

          Never mind the Police who ignore all the threats and the intimidation tactics the developers dish out to residents who are whistleblowers for their multiple breaches of consent………

          Developers must be getting away with this shit all around the country. Probably big funders to cabinet club so they can get their desired changes through RMA “reform”.

          • Murray Rawshark 5.2.1.1.1

            My experience is also that many developers are thuggish and threaten people. Rather ironic that this Parnell couple is claiming they’ve been threatened.

            • Rosie 5.2.1.1.1.1

              You wouldn’t believe these guys Murray. They are neanderthals. It’s the wild west out here.

              They have followed one resident, on foot, and in vehicles when that resident is out walking. They just drive along side and glare at him. The cops were informed as this happens frequently but they say there is nothing they can do.

              Work was stopped on a lot behind this same person while council were investigating a compliance issue (The developer has been issued with several fines for breaches of resource consent). The contractor took his revenge by spray painting a massive dick n balls (yes really) on the upturned bucket of the loader and parked it behind and above his house so half the street could see it.
              What was really awful is that there are young children that got to see that and one 12 year old girl told me she couldn’t play in her back yard because of “the thing”. It was a really arrogant act of intimidation. Police didn’t respond when phoned about it.

              It’s just ongoing. I already had a run in with one contractor this morning, at 6.45am. Great start to the day!

              • Murray Rawshark

                This is what they can get away with when we have a NAct government and a council busy trying to privatise everything. Sadly, I would believe you. I know exactly what these scum are like, and they are often drinking buddies with the local poaka.

      • Ant 5.2.2

        “One of the locals points out in the video that the local residents would never have gotten permission to do something like this.”

        Local residents did get permission to do this, that’s what the whole fuss is about.

    • tracey 5.3

      Opprobrium they have faced? Not from the MSM that I have read? I have focused my own comments on the Council’s hypocrisy… until today when the owner/developer/architects published a letter, which I read closely after some here drew closer attention to it.

      If the Kauri is “only” 100 to 125 years old, does that change the discussion markedly?

      If a Kiwi’s nest had only eggs in it would it be ok to drive over it in a tractor?

      IF you are referring tot he inaccuracy of our media, fair enough, but that is a constant topic of dismay on this site.

      The problem with the real story lying with Council is that protesting to council would have seen the tree gone by now.

      I agree the owner/developer/architects followed the Law but that provides a minimum level of behaviour. There were ways to design and build leaving the Kauri there. They chose not to. They are entitled tot hat choice and the consequences thereof.

      • weka 5.3.1

        ok, I get the kiwi thing now 🙂

        I was under the impression that the community had been trying to do things for quite some time.

        Twitter is not being kind to the developers, but it’s not being hugely critical/mean either (haven’t looked a much today though).

        • tracey 5.3.1.1

          I don’t do twitter…

          I am shamed

          • Karen 5.3.1.1.1

            You don’t need to join twitter to read what it is being said – just google the name and open the twitter account.
            Look at Lisa Owen https://twitter.com/lisaowennz
            It seems the developer mislead the iwi by saying only that there was vegetation that needed removing and then told the planners he’d consulted with them. The planner then said no need for the consent application to be notified.

            I have been told by a friend working in council that this kind of sham consultation is happening all the time in Auckland, and the planners just accept the developer’s word that everybody is happy. Most affected parties don’t even know what is happening.

            • tracey 5.3.1.1.1.1

              Thanks Karen

              Council is short staffed… but still have statutory deadlines…

              shave the bonuses from CCC’s CE’s and others and employ a dozen more people. Human nature comes into play too cos the officers get to know developers over time due to regular contact.

            • weka 5.3.1.1.1.2

              Wow, go Lisa Owen!

    • Murray Rawshark 5.4

      I’m not uncomfortable at all. They thought they were special because of influence with the council bureaucracy. It backfired on them. Boohoo. They can always build at Omaha and lose their McMansion to global warming. Haha.

  6. tracey 6

    Number 40

    Latest capital value
    $200,000
    Latest land value:
    $200,000

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