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