Mountain landmark on horizon
At least one Pohutukawa might soon be planted on the mountain many people now call ‘None Tree Hill'.
A Waitangi Treaty settlement bill is proceeding quickly through parliament and could well be finalised by the end of the year.
Maungakiekie MP Sam Lotu-Iiga says that could be an opportune time to go ahead with the planting.
The summit of One Tree Hill, also known as Maungakiekie, lost its landmark pine in 2000 after a chainsaw attack by Maori activists.
The protesters considered the non native tree to be a symbol of political grievance.
"I think a vast majority of people would like a tree up there, it just became a point of contention," Mr Lotu-Iiga says.
"Obviously you don't forget the past but this could be a symbol of hope for the future."
The first reading of the Nga Mana Whenua o Tamaki Makaurau Collective Redress Bill was passed through parliament on July 31.
The house is using extended hours to quickly progress the settlement.
Mr Lotu-Iiga say the final readings should take place before the end of the year and he expects a positive outcome.
The bill will see 13 iwi and hapu in the Auckland area given a guardianship role around volcanic cones and other regional assets.
The council is already responsible for maintenance at One Tree Hill Domain and will share in the co-governance.
Mayor Len Brown is confident there will soon be a tree back up on the mountain.
"When we do plant a tree up there it will be a pohutukawa," he says. "Most others would struggle up there, but a pohutukawa would grow anywhere."
Mr Brown envisages a big hole being dug and a mature specimen being flown into place by helicopter.
But the Central Leader understands more than one tree will probably be planted because of high wind exposure.
Ngati Whatua Orakei Trust director Ngarimu Blair says there will be no planting until treaty grievances around the loss of Maungakiekie are settled.
He says the tribe entered into what it thought was a lease to settler Thomas Henry in 1846.
"It transpired that Ngati Whatua's legal title to the land was instead extinguished. It has since been a source of grievance.
He says the crown later disallowed part of the purchase but kept the mountain instead of returning it to Ngati Whatua.
"Maungakiekie is arguably our most sacred place on the isthmus," he says.
"We expect this settlement to be finalised in 2013 and look forward to future discussions with the council and Maunga Co-governance Board regarding the possibility of replanting a tree."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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