Lemon tree connects past and present
It’s a lemon tree with real history. A cutting from what is believed to be New Zealand’s oldest fruit tree was planted on the weekend in a ceremony marking a unique piece of Kiwi history.
Pt Chevalier’s Stan Hansen is a relative of one of the people to create the Oihi Mission Station after landing in the Bay of Islands in 1814.
His great-great-great-greatgrandfather Thomas Hansen, captain of the brig Active, brought missionary Samuel Marsden and others to New Zealand from New South Wales.
Today little evidence of the settlement remains, just a few gravestones of those who died in the remote area and a solitary lemon tree.
Mr Hansen says after four years of planning, a cutting from the tree that had been lovingly nurtured to a decent size was finally planted on Sunday, meaning the tree will live in two places.
‘‘The ship carried the first horses, cattle, sheep, plants and seeds,’’ Mr Hansen says.
‘‘It could be best described as a Noah’s Ark.’’
The settlement was abandoned in 1832 but the tree survived and in 2009 Stan’s son Eric went to Oihi, beginning the project of taking a cutting for replanting at Kerikeri’s Kemp House which Thomas Hansen had helped to build.
‘‘It’s like the closing of a circle,’’ Stan Hansen says.
The project has been supported by the Department of Conservation and the Historic Places Trust.
Lemon history: Pt Chevalier man Stan Hansen plants a propagated offshoot of a lemon tree originally planted by his ancestor in the early 1800s.