800-year-old Rātā felled for safety reasons in Taranaki

By Te Ao - Māori News
Photo / Taranaki Regional Council

A centuries old giant rātā is no more. The tree, estimated to be at least 800-years-old, at Taranaki's Pukeiti Gardens was felled for safety reasons by the regional council on Friday.

"Pukeiti’s iconic giant rātā was felled this morning because it was in danger of falling over and presented a risk to public safety," Taranaki Regional Council said.

The council says a local kaumātua said a karakia, "and as nature intended, the tree will lie where it fell and be allowed to decompose naturally."

Pukeiti’s iconic giant rata was felled this morning because it was in danger of falling over and presented a risk to...

Posted by Taranaki Regional Council on Thursday, 10 December 2020

A fortnight ago, cracks were identified in the lower trunk of the tree and further bad weather exacerbated the problem.

“Recent strong winds and heavy rain have lengthened and widened the existing cracks in just a few days. The structural integrity of the tree was compromised and it was in danger of falling over, so we had to take action quickly," the council's gardens manager Greg Rine said.

“We’re absolutely gutted that we had to fell this wonderful old tree, but, ultimately, keeping Pukeiti visitors safe is our priority. Unfortunately, because of its sheer size, bracing the tree was not a feasible option."

Local hapū were advised prior to the felling and have been kept apprised of the situation, Rine said.

“It will be greatly missed by visitors and garden staff alike, but we’re not letting her go without saying a proper goodbye.”