The iconic Blockhouse Bay Monterey pines have met their end.
Planted by Mr Gittos between the mid-1870s–80s when he lived on what is now the Countdown site, the pines came to the end of their natural life.
In 2015 it became apparent that something had to be done as two trees faded away and died. A large branch fell into the Blockhouse Bay Primary School playground, fortunately outside school hours.
Auckland Council’s move to fell all ten pines was thwarted when Catherine Farmer lobbied to publicly notify the council proposal to fell all the trees. There was a lot of public sentiment to retain the landmark trees that welcomed villagers home as they approached from the far end of Blockhouse Bay Road.
Auckland Council retreated, felling only the dead trees in June 2016 and monitoring the others. There was a lively debate on Facebook where it was suggested (without any supporting facts) that the council only wanted to remove the pines in order to extend the carpark. Untrue, but now you mention it, what a good idea!
It didn’t take long for another pine to give up and die. It had to be removed in November 2016.
The whole debate receded until April 2018 when two complete trees blew over in a storm and ended up in the school’s new sports field. Now even a blind man could see that the trees absolutely had to go.
So last month, with all the consents signed off, the remaining Monterey pines were removed.
What remains is a vibrant underplanting of trees that should now grow well without the suppressing effect of the pines. Auckland Council will reinforce this by planting two rewarewas and six kawaka trees.
The era of Blockhouse Bay Monterey pines has passed. May the new plantings and remaining trees grow strong.