Wellington Scoop

PHOTOS: Three months after storm, pine trees still blocking walking tracks


Report and photos by Neil Douglas
It is now three months since the June 21st storm brought down big pine trees on Tinakori Hill. Several of them are still blocking the main walking tracks.


All that’s been done by the Wellington City Council is to stick up some nice yellow and black signs telling us that the tracks are ‘closed.’ But intrepid walkers ignore them and clamber over the huge tree trunks. One day someone will hurt a leg or worse.


How long do we have to wait for WCC bureaucrats to fix the tracks? Surely a gang of ten Masterton lumberjacks would have had them sorted out in a week, made money out of the logs, and not charged city ratepayers an arm and a leg.



  1. Stephen Bargwanna, 26. September 2013, 18:54

    Nice dogs!
    I thought NZ was full of practical can-do people.Something is seriously wrong here. This is a favourite walking track of mine when visiting Wellington.

  2. Fei, 26. September 2013, 19:15

    3 months is a long time for something to be done. Maybe this is just not “important” enough for WCC.

  3. Polly, 26. September 2013, 19:26

    Hear hear! Get cracking council. What lovely dogs.

  4. Jacob Toner, 26. September 2013, 19:41

    The latest annual plan cut the budget for Hazardous Tree Removal by $100k with a commentary that it would be sufficient within normal weather conditions. Unfortunately we have had a run of rubbish weather and the resources have been put to the test. Meanwhile, the council could find $40k for the Alternative Giving Campaign to reduce giving to beggars…. Skewed spending priorities.

  5. Barbara, 26. September 2013, 20:22

    Good work SCOOP dogs. The Tinakori hill tracks certainly need repairing after the big storm. I look forward to the Council sorting this out. I think we need to look after what we have got first and foremost. As Stephen says our tracks are a great asset.

  6. Lindsay, 26. September 2013, 20:30

    The two Scoop dogs are Harriet (yellow) and Henry – we hope they’ll be carrying out more roving reports.

  7. CEO, 27. September 2013, 4:43

    Time to get on with the things that matter, WCC!

  8. richard maclean, 27. September 2013, 10:31

    Can we plead for a bit of patience from Mr Douglas? We are definitely working with contractors on a plan to remove the trees – and the work will be done well before Christmas – but we have all been busy clearing fallen trees from areas in other parts of town where we consider the priority more pressing – for example where the trees are threatening to fall on houses or on roads. At the moment, for example, Council arboriculture staff and contractors are clearing trees from the Town Belt above Hutchison Road and are moving on to other badly affected sites near Seatoun and Tawa. In general, crews right around the region are still flat-tack working on tree removals but we are committed to getting in to work on Tinakori/Te Ahumairangi – but not right now.
    Mr Douglas says we should send in a logging company in to sort out the Tinakori/Te Ahumairangi trees. Unfortunately most such companies would not welcome the opportunity to remove a relatively limited number of tangled trunks – of dubious milling quality – from a steep and inaccessible hillside.
    We ask that people stay away from the areas with fallen trees until the ‘track closed’ signs have been removed. Not all tracks on Tinakori/Te Ahumairangi are blocked by trees – so it is still possible to go for a walk without the need to clamber over or under trunks.
    Richard MacLean – WCC Communications

  9. Georgia, 27. September 2013, 10:46

    Come on WCC! And use some of that fallen pine to have lookout seats on the track!

  10. andy foster, 27. September 2013, 14:53

    Hi everyone – a quick note from our trees team. They aren’t the beloved bureaucrats referred to in the report, but guys who get up in trees and do a great job. After the big storm in June there were something like 1000 separate jobs to be done – unfortunately that doesn’t mean 1000 trees either! Anyway – here is chapter and verse sent to councillors today for general distribution about what work has been and is being done all over the city.

    Warmest regards
    Andy Foster
    City Councillor

    Dear All
    Thank you all for your patience while we clean up the storm damage. I thought it would be helpful to update you about the tree damage from the June 20 storm and the subsequent high winds and rain. Since we opened all the roads and cleared power lines, we have been working on tree damage in our reserves and on the Town Belt.

    The following list outlines the work in progress in areas with the most damage:

    • Willowbank Park – We have removed the damaged trees and repaired the bridge. There is one large root ball left in the stream and we are working with contractors to remove it. Once this is done we can reinstate the track and pathways. We are also working on a planting plan for the 2014 planting season.
    • Finnimore Terrace – All the fallen and storm-damaged trees have been removed. We are working on a planting plan for the 2014 planting season.
    • Hutchinson Road – Treescape are on site dealing with the damaged trees. I estimate this work will be completed in two weeks.
    • Rear of Scarborough Terrace – The damaged trees have been made safe and the tracks opened up.
    • Mt Victoria – there has been a lot of tree damage all over Mt Victoria. We have cleared most of this, but there are two sites left along Lookout Road where we will need to use a crane to remove the trees. This work is scheduled for December when the weather is better for crane work.
    • Erskine Close – This work has been completed and the walkway is open.
    • Central Park – Most of the tracks are open and we have a contractor ready to clear the rest of the tree fall. This work will be completed in two weeks.
    • Khandallah Park – All the trees have been made safe and the tracks are clear.
    • Hillcroft Road – Downer Tree Services are on site and will complete this job by the end of next week.
    • Beacon Hill – This area is still closed, but work is due to start in two weeks.
    • Te Ahumairangi – there are a lot of fallen trees all over the hill. We have opened up some of the tracks for access. We will need to use specialist equipment to remove the larger trees. We have assessed the trees and are working with contractors on the best way to open all the tracks and make the trees safe.
    • Karori Park – The majority of this work has been completed. Contractors are on site at the moment and will have the tracks open and the trees made safe by the end of next week.
    • Karori Cemetery – Since the initial damage several more trees have failed. We are working on removing them on a priority basis. Because of the complexity of this work, parts of the cemetery will be closed until after Christmas.
    • Berhampore Golf Course – The trees here have been removed and taken to the port for export. We are reinstating the area outside the Scout hall. Contractors will plant 1000 plants next week to help the site recover.
    • Southgate Park – The fallen trees have been removed and we are working on a planting plan for the 2014 planting season.
    • Tawa Tawa Reserve – The fallen and damaged trees have been removed and the hillside has been cleared. The tracks have been reinstated and we are processing the last of the debris. We have a planting plan for 1000 plants and are waiting for the Southern Environmental Association to give us the go ahead to plant them.
    • Spicer Forest – This is a large project. The forest has been mapped and we are working with a consultant and Porirua City Council to determine the best way to deal with the damage.

    We are still getting more damage reports because of the bad weather, so the above timeframes are estimates only. I will update you as things are assessed. As you can see from the above list, we have done a lot of work so far. Everyone has been very patient and we appreciate that. Please bear with us while we work our way through cleaning up this storm damage.

    Yours sincerely,
    David Spencer,
    Arboriculture Manager

  11. Geoff W., 27. September 2013, 18:31

    Full of bull! Just clear the track, put on your orange vest and helmet and get out there. Don’t forget the ropes so you don’t fall.
    Ps – trees are on the ground.