We live near the top of Mt Victoria in Wellington, New Zealand. Above our house Alexandra Road, lined mainly by pines and macrocarpa, winds through the Town Belt.
Some research tells me the trees were probably planted around 1930 when people were employed during the Great Recession to plant trees and build the road. Workmen used picks, shovels and wheelbarrows to clear the area for the new road.
For much of the 20th century Wellington’s hills were dominated by livestock farming. In the 1930s the first major reforestation project began when government relief workers planted the flanks of Mt Victoria and Tinakori Hill with exotic trees – pine and macrocarpa.
The trees help block the gales from the North, and also do a good job of blocking out the sun we’d rather enjoy.
At one time, apparently, Wellington’s hills were covered in Rata and bush. I wish the pines and other exotic species would just disappear to be replaced by natives.
On Saturday morning at around 6 am we heard a weird noise. It was a sort of scratching waterfall kind of noise. We thought maybe one of the cats had knocked down a whole lot of stuff, but quickly saw everything was in its right place. I decided something like a possum must have slid down the iron roof and fallen off.
A couple of hours later we heard a chainsaw.
What had really happened was one of the large old pine trees around 30 metres from the house had just fallen down. Luckily it fell away from the house, though it wouldn’t have fallen on us. It would have damaged a lot of trees and bushes though if it had come our way.
In fact, it fell directly across the road and when I went to take a look the Council workers were underway with removal.
Given the tree was probably planted in 1930 or so it must be around 80 years old. Certainly the trunks are about a metre in diameter.
After a morning’s work the road was clear again, and only the twin stumps remain to show where the tree stood.
Today was sunny and we benefited from the clear space. I’ve asked the Council what next? Will the other trees be affected by the loss of their neighbour? Will the Council replace the fallen pine with perhaps a Rata or Pohutukawa?
Perhaps there will just be a gap now.