Tragedy woman named
hands of the Lord yesterday ... Trish stands out because she ... has such a loving heart and welcoming arms ... She will be so missed by so many of us.’’
Rotorua Mayor Steve Chadwick last night said Butterworth’s death was a ‘‘tragic accident’’ and extended her condolences to her family.
‘‘It is too early to speculate on the circumstances of this tragic accident but I can assure you council will co-operate fully with any investigation undertaken by the relevant authorities,’’ she said.
Brenda Fraser wrote ‘‘Whaea Trish was a very special lady. I feel privileged to have been her friend and I will miss having nonjudgmental and honest discussions with her about life’’. Amybeth Gutwein said ‘‘I loved the deep and meaningful conversations I had with her and especially loved seeing her face light up when her very much loved husband came. She acted like a cute teenager with major crush! So beautiful xox’’.
Family friend Jackie Ngatai said Butterworth’s husband Keith and family would not like to comment but it’s expected a church service will be held for her in Hamilton either tomorrow or Tuesday and she will be buried in Te Puke.
Rotorua Lakes Council acting chief executive Craig Tiriana said a tree specialist had raised concerns about the tree although a February 2017 report recommended annual inspections and found no major issues with the tree, which was more than 150 years old, Tiriana said.
Another inspection in late September, early October led to replaced bracing and ‘‘some branch reduction’’.
But locals have said it was only a matter of time before the ‘‘old’’ and ‘‘broken’’ tree came down, and they said concerns and complaints made to council had fallen on deaf ears.
Resident Anna White said she uses the intersection almost daily and she had often wondered ‘‘when it might fall’’.
White said she had seen wire ropes set up around the ‘‘precarious’’ tree in recent months.
‘‘If you asked any local about the tree they’d all know which one you were referring to – it didn’t take a tree specialist to be concerned,’’ she said.
According to the New Zealand Tree Register, the oak had a girth of 7.14m and was protected under the district council plan.
Spencer’s Oak was long considered the largest of its species in New Zealand, but had been trumped by an English oak near Motueka, the register states.