Chainsaw vandal attack
Angry North Shore neighbours suspect trees damaged to get better view
Achainsaw vandal has left seaside neighbours on Auckland’s North Shore nervously surveying their backyards after a towering pine was irreparably damaged and several others ring-barked.
Castor Bay resident Tina Morgan suspects someone snuck into her backyard while she was in Italy three months ago and tried to kill the tree for a sea view.
Morgan was left $9000 out of pocket after the 20m pine had to be felled because arborists deemed it unsafe.
A deep incision around its base was discovered by gardeners on September 21.
An uphill apartment block backing on to Morgan’s Heathcote Rd property reported similar attacks on trees.
“Over the road from that apartment block . . . there’s a sea view.
“So there’s a wedge of houses in that area that are probably going to benefit from both trees being down. But I have no proof,” Morgan said.
“I decided to move on it quickly because a couple of weeks ago it was really windy and all I did was worry about the tree.
“And secondly, if someone is that brazen they’re probably going to come back and have another go.”
Arborists said the tree was probably cut three to six months ago, which is when Morgan was on holiday and when her neighbours found cuts in their trees.
An apartment block further up the hill on Parr Terrace has a large pohutukawa and two other smaller trees with mystery saw marks round their trunks.
Ilan Wittenberg, who lives in one apartment, blames foul play.
“It’s a beautiful pohutukawa, it’s quite large and it’s old and someone who was not happy with the shade it creates, or maybe not happy with blocking the view, I’m not sure, but they really caused a lot of damage,” he said.
Another resident at the Parr Terrace apartment, Debbie Wastney, also believed there was “definitely nothing unintentional” about the cuts.
“Clearly it has been done by a chainsaw, it’s a complete clean looking two cuts, really deep in,” she said. An arborist will assess if the pohutukawa is salvageable, but residents have been quoted up to $15,000 for removal.
“I was just horrified at how much Tina had to pay to get it removed. I think it’s pretty rank of the insurance company,” Wastney said. Uphill of the Parr Terrace apartments there are several homes with deck views that would be less impeded by the trees’ removal.
“I don’t think it would be someone who was on a drunken stupor with a chainsaw,” Wastney said.
“It’s someone who really wants to benefit from getting rid of the trees. Everyone in our block is pretty up in arms about it.”
Morgan and Wittenberg have separately reported the attacks on their trees to police, but were told there is little that can be done. Waitemata Police told Morgan in an email: “Looking at all the available evidence we have not been able to find out who is responsible. Unless more information or evidence is found, we can’t proceed any further with this case.”
Police told the Herald on Sunday if tree felling occurred on a property without permission it could be considered wilful damage, and result in charges.
Morgan was advised her pine should be taken down in the next six months.
“If the tree had fallen on someone’s house, the insurance company would cover the damage to the house, but they don’t pay for tree removal. So either I removed it or I let it fall on someone which obviously I wasn’t going to do.
“Neighbours should look after each other, not wilfully damage each other’s property, and it made me uncomfortable that someone had been on my property.
“It has made me more cautious about the neighbourhood, and that’s a shame.”
Tina Morgan lost her pine tree and $9000 after the vandalism.
The view created by the tree attack.