Decades old kauri tree finds a new home
A kauri tree, reputedly rescued from the Gore dump nearly four decades ago, was carefully relocated from its urban environment to Dolamore Park this week.
Gore District Council staff and contractors removed the 40-year-old tree from a vacant section in Broughton Street using an excavator. The section will be developed into a stormwater infiltration basin as part of our Elizabeth Street pipeline renewal project.
3 Waters project engineer Aaron Green said it was believed the kauri had been thrown out by a nursery 38 years ago.
“We’ve been told Crosbie and Candice Grieve rescued it and planted it in their section, where it has remained until today.”
The Council sought specialist advice about the best option for the kauri.
“We wanted to know if we could save the kauri given the threat the species is facing from kauri dieback in the North Island.
“It’s also listed on our District Plan’s significant tree register as a ‘rare specimen in Southland worthy of protection’,” Mr Green said.
Parks Manager Keith McRobie said the trickiest part of the operation was delicately lying the tree on the flat deck without damaging it.
The tree's removal started with an excavator digging a circle outside its dripline – the area under the outer circumference of the branches. Two excavators and a hi-ab were then employed to scoop up the kauri and place it on the transporter.
“We wrapped carpet around part of the trunk to protect the tree’s soft bark.”
Mr McRobie acknowledged the outstanding skills of the digger operators who had to work in unison to ensure the tree was safely lifted out of the ground and delivered to its new home.
Kauris are normally found in the much warmer, temperate climate of Northland.
The fact this kauri has survived Gore’s winter temperatures was a testament to the hardiness of the species outside its natural range, Mr McRobie said.
“We have relocated it to a more sheltered spot among native plants, which should allow it to flourish,” he said.