Some people buried in New Plymouth's Te Henui cemetery will be able to rest in peace again after trees upsetting their graves are removed.
New Plymouth District Council arborists are cutting down 10 flowering cherry and agonis trees, the roots of which have begun to uplift and crack some concrete graves.
Council arborist Conrad Pattison said removing the trees and replanting was part of routine maintenance.
"We do a bit of a walk-over every year and check the tree assets to identify if there's any structural problems or if they're damaging the surrounding graves."
Yesterday arborists were cutting down trees near the cracked graves of William James and Christina Johnston, who died in 1942, and Jack Swan, who died in 1929.
Other damaged graves were so old and neglected it was impossible to read the names of the people they belonged to.
No excavation work would be done during the tree removal, and stumps would either be left alone or ground down, Mr Pattison said.
A smaller type of agonis, pseudopanax and star magnolias would replace the uprooted trees.
"We're very mindful of the aesthetics of the cemetery. People like to come and see everything flowering."
Mr Pattison said there was some resistance from the public about the removal of the trees.
"They come up and see us cutting down the trees and don't quite understand why and even when we explain they're still pretty upset," he said.
Leaving the trees there to grow and cause further damage was irresponsible, he said.
"Repair work on the graves themselves is up to the owners of the plots, so we're actually helping people avoid the costs associated with that. And with the replanting we're choosing trees that are less likely to cause problems so we're future-proofing too."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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