100-year-old tree to be felled

GERMARI HERSELMAN
Last updated 09:04 18/07/2014
Sophie Stammers, Renee Paterson and Emma Pilcher
SCOTT HAMMOND/FAIRFAX NZ
LONG LIFETIME: A century-old gum tree at Duncannon Backpackers and Worker Accommodation in Riverlands has to be cut down because it is dying.

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One of Blenheim's oldest residents, a century-old gum tree, will soon be chopped into firewood.

The old tree is one of five at Duncannon Backpackers and Worker Accommodation, in Riverlands, dating back to when the original homestead was built.

Operations manager Alistair Mitchell said the trees were health-checked every year and the gum tree closest to the road was flagged as a safety risk this year.

"The tree is right at our entrance, so, being in poor health, it would be really dangerous if it came down," he said.

The Duncannon homestead celebrated its 100th birthday in July 2012.

The house was built by John Brown for his wife and was originally named Clifton House. It is believed the trees were planted about the same time.

Since then, the property has been a private residence, lifestyle block, camping ground and an accommodation complex for seasonal workers.

The tree was scheduled to be felled next month, after a delay in getting parts for the crane needed to bring it down safely, Mitchell said.

The tree would be chopped into firewood and donated to Riverlands School to use for fundraising.

Mitchell hoped to leave a 3-metre-tall stump and have a chainsaw artist turn it into a sculpture that would be visible from State Highway 1.

"We have brown owls living at the homestead and they often fly between the tree and the house, so we think owls could be a possible theme, we're not sure yet," he said.

They have not found an artist yet and would like to appeal to chainsaw sculptors in Marlborough to contact them so work can be done before the tree stump died completely.

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- The Marlborough Express

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