Residents request more birches cut down

00:00, Jan 24 2014
Hamish Riach’s house
SNEEZE FACTOR: The two silver birches outside Canterbury rugby boss Hamish Riach's house.

The Christchurch City Council is under pressure to give more silver birches the big chop.

On average the council receives 30 requests a year to remove silver birch trees from public land but it has received nearly half that number in the one week since the Fendalton-Waimairi Community Board agreed to remove two silver birches from outside Canterbury rugby boss Hamish Riach's Merivale home.

Riach had been battling for four years to get the two silver birches removed because they were making three members of his family unwell.

In a high-profile decision the Fendalton-Waimairi Community Board voted unanimously to remove the trees, which are a known allergen, and to replace them with either maple or oak trees, at Riach's cost.

Since then the council has received 12 requests from people wanting silver birches outside their properties removed.

A council spokeswoman said staff would look into all the requests.


The council has stopped planting silver birches but it decided a few years ago not to embark on a city-wide removal programme because of the high cost.

It is estimated there are around 3000 silver birches on public land in Christchurch.

Have you requested to have silver birches removed? Drop us a line at

The Press