Grieving grans mourn felling

Central Leader - - FRONT PAGE - ELESHA ED­MONDS

‘‘These trees have been loved and cared for for so long and it’s heart­less what has hap­pened.’’

The women wore black cloth­ing and donned lace veils be­fore mak­ing their way to­wards the ‘‘dev­as­tat­ing scene’’.

Nav­i­gat­ing their way be­tween the stumps and saw­dust, the group car­ried flow­ers and hummed to them­selves.

It was an un­com­fort­able, dark and solemn sight - one at­trib­uted to that of death and grief.

But the four women weren’t mourn­ing one of their own. In­stead their sad­ness was for a gar­den of trees that had been cut down at the back of a pri­vate Mt Eden prop­erty. The ‘‘Grieving Grand­moth­ers’’, as they re­fer to them­selves, placed flow­ers on the stumps and held one an­other as they vis­ited the Karariki Street sec­tion last week.

‘‘These trees have been felled so dis­re­spect­fully, so we’ve come to give them a funeral,’’ Juliet Bat­ten, the group’s leader, says.

The prop­erty’s green­ery and trees had been clear-felled to make way for a new house at the back of the sec­tion.

Tracy Kikuchi, who rents the front prop­erty, says she knew the back sec­tion was to be re­de­vel­oped but was shocked to find all the trees had been cut down. The ex­ten­sive gar­den is what at­tracted Kikuchi to move into the $1135-per-week rental at the be­gin­ning of the year. Kikuchi says the shock and sad­ness of los­ing the trees has meant she has de­cided to move out.

‘‘I don’t want to spend ev­ery day look­ing out my kitchen win­dow and see­ing that … it’s un­recog­nis­able.’’

Kikuchi asked Bat­ten to host a funeral for the trees - Bat­ten has hosted sim­i­lar cer­e­monies through­out Auck­land in protest of tree felling.

‘‘This is one of the worst ex­am­ples I’ve ever seen,’’ Bat­ten says.

‘‘There are trees that could have sur­vived here, there are trees that could have been pre­served.

Bat­ten says the de­struc­tion high­lights a big­ger is­sue - the ‘‘un­green­ing of Auck­land’’.

‘‘This kind of thing is happening be­hind fences in peo­ple’s back­yards ev­ery­where as the hous­ing pres­sure means we need to build more houses,’’ she says.

She says while the con­struc­tion of more houses can’t be pre­vented, peo­ple still need to show re­spect to the trees and make sure they are se­lec­tively chopped down.

ELESHA ED­MONDS / FAIR­FAX NZ

The ‘‘Grieving Grand­moth­ers’’ mourn the felling of trees through­out Auck­land.

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