main road pohutukawaA big pohutukawa tree on the Main Road.  Pohutukawa is known as the ‘NZ Christmas tree’ as it flowers in December, and some trees become a mass of red blooms.

According to an article in today’s issue of the Kapiti News, blanket protection rules for native trees are going on 4 September, and instead only about 1,300 trees on 400 properties will be specifically protected, rather than the over 10,600 covered now.

The rules up till now have covered naturally occurring trees not introduced by people, which means that if someone at some stage had planted a native tree from somewhere outside of Kapiti, then it wasn’t covered.  The problem was of course that proving that wasn’t always easy, as birds can fly long distances and drop the seeds in their excrement.

Where we are, Kowhai, Pseudopanax crassifolius (lancewood), Cordyline australis (cabbage tree) and Puriri propagate readily that way.  The first three have been covered, but not the last.  If you wanted to modify protected trees (apart from things like removing dead limbs, obstructions to gutters etc) that are over 4 metres in height and 95 cm in girth, then you needed a Resource Consent.

Will property developers in Kapiti take this to mean they can now destroy native flora at will?  We hope not — the council needs to make clear to people like him what they can and cannot do.  There also needs to be promotion to increase awareness of the importance of native trees and native birds in the whole community.