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Where's the one tree?

JENNY LING
Last updated 05:00 28/02/2014
One Tree Hill
LONG GONE: The One Tree Hill pine shortly before its removal in October 2000.
One Tree Hill
GET PLANTING: Musician Jamie Rowe is frustrated with the time it’s taken to get some action on One Tree Hill.

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Tribute band frontman Jamie Rowe is in his element belting out hits by U2.

Until it comes to the song One Tree Hill.

He says the tune frustrates him when he thinks of the landmark volcanic cone and the time it is taking authorities to replace a solitary pine felled 14 years ago after being damaged in chainsaw attacks by Maori activists.

"Everybody in Auckland and New Zealand knows it as One Tree Hill with the tree on it. I think what guts a lot of us, when you look up at it, is to just see a monument. There's something missing."

Central to the delays are Waitangi Treaty negotiations on the management of the site.

Mr Rowe has issued a challenge to mayor Len Brown to "get his act together and make the planting happen."

"He would be remembered for a long time by fixing One Tree Hill," Mr Rowe says.

"There would be so many people that would assist and I'd be one of them."

Mr Rowe could well get his wish later this year when a Waitangi Settlement bill is passed, paving the way for Maori and council co-governance of the area.

Ben Thomas, press secretary for Minister of Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Chris Finlayson, says the Nga Mana Whenua o Tamaki Makaurau Collective Redress Bill will be passed before this year's election.

The bill will see 13 Auckland iwi and hapu, known as the Tamaki Collective, given a guardianship role for the volcanic cones and other regional assets.

It will also allow the Tupuna Maunga o Tamaki Makaurau Authority to be established, consisting of six members appointed by the Tamaki Collective and six members appointed by the council, plus one non-voting member.

Ngati Whatua Orakei Trust director Ngarimu Blair is confident the new authority will resolve the long-standing issue.

"It's great that a U2 tribute band has taken such a strong interest in New Zealand's attempts to right wrongs of the past.

"Once our treaty settlement is complete then we'll look at the replacement.

"We're absolutely confident we will come up with a good plan at the right time.

"Whatever we grow up there it's going to be a tough job and a tough environment to grow anything."

Mayor Len Brown shares his sentiments.

"I am hopeful that with goodwill on all sides, planting can occur soon after the maunga co-governance authority is established," he says.

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The U2 song honours New Zealander Greg Caroll, a friend of the famous Irish band who died in a Dublin motorbike accident in 1986.

- Central Leader

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