Moun­tain land­mark on hori­zon

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - By DANIELLE STREET

AT LEAST one po­hutukawa might soon be planted on the moun­tain many peo­ple now call ‘None Tree Hill’.

A Wai­tangi Treaty set­tle­ment bill is pro­ceed­ing quickly through Par­lia­ment and could well be fi­nalised by the end of the year.

Maun­gakiekie MP Sam Lotu-Iiga says that could be an op­por­tune time to go ahead with the plant­ing.

The sum­mit of One Tree Hill, also known as Maun­gakiekie, lost its land­mark pine in 2000 af­ter a chain­saw at­tack by Maori ac­tivists.

The pro­test­ers con­sid­ered the non-na­tive tree to be a sym­bol of po­lit­i­cal griev­ance.

‘‘I think a vast ma­jor­ity of peo­ple would like a tree up there, it just be­came a point of con­tention,’’ Mr Lotu-Iiga says.

‘‘Ob­vi­ously you don’t for­get the past but this could be a sym­bol of hope for the fu­ture.’’

The first read­ing of the Nga Mana Whenua o Ta­maki Makau­rau Col­lec­tive Re­dress Bill was passed through par­lia­ment on July 31.

The house is us­ing ex­tended hours to quickly progress the set­tle­ment.

Mr Lotu-Iiga say the fi­nal read­ings should take place be­fore the end of the year and he ex­pects a pos­i­tive out­come.

The bill will see 13 iwi and hapu in the Auck­land area given a guardian­ship role around vol­canic cones and other re­gional as­sets.

The coun­cil is al­ready re­spon­si­ble for main­te­nance at One Tree Hill Do­main and will share gov­er­nance.

Mayor Len Brown is con­fi­dent there will soon be a tree back up on the moun­tain.

‘‘When we do plant a tree up there it will be a po­hutukawa,’’ he says. ‘‘ Most oth­ers would strug­gle up there, but a po­hutukawa would grow any­where.’’

Mr Brown en­vis­ages a big hole be­ing dug and a ma­ture spec­i­men be­ing flown into place by he­li­copter.

But the Cen­tral Leader un­der­stands more than one tree will prob­a­bly be planted be­cause of high wind ex­po­sure.

Ngati Whatua Orakei Trust di­rec­tor Ngarimu Blair says it won’t con­sider plant­ing un­til treaty griev­ances around the loss of

in

the

co- Maun­gakiekie are set­tled.

He says the tribe en­tered into what it thought was a lease to set­tler Thomas Henry in 1846.

‘‘It tran­spired that Ngati Whatua’s le­gal ti­tle to the land was in­stead ex­tin­guished. It has since been a source of griev­ance.’’

He says the crown later dis­al­lowed part of the pur­chase but kept the moun­tain in­stead of re­turn­ing it to Ngati Whatua.

‘‘Maun­gakiekie is ar­guably our most sa­cred place on the isth­mus,’’ he says.

‘‘We ex­pect this set­tle­ment to be fi­nalised in 2013 and look for­ward to fu­ture dis­cus­sions with the coun­cil and Maunga Co-gov­er­nance Board re­gard­ing the pos­si­bil­ity of re­plant­ing a tree.’’

Photo: DANIELLE STREET

Up­hill climb: The sum­mit of One Tree Hill has been largely tree­less for more than a decade, but MP for Maun­gakiekie Sam Lotu-Iiga says that may soon change.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Long gone: The One Tree Hill pine shortly be­fore its re­moval in Oc­to­ber 2000.

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