Maunga Tree Protection Group ends daily watch after more than 800 days but will continue to defend trees

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The community group which has maintained a daily tree protection vigil for over 820 days in Ōwairaka/Mt Albert says it will step down on Saturday March 12 following the Court of Appeal’s unanimous judgment which means the trees are in security for now.

The court ruling concluded that the Tūpuna Maunga authority had acted unlawfully by failing to consult the public on its decision to cut down the exotic trees of Ōwairaka. The ruling also found that Auckland Council acted unlawfully by failing to publicly notify consent to tree-felling resources.

However, the decision also leaves the door open for the Authority to cut down the trees in the future, provided consultation obligations are met. In addition, the Authority has also publicly signaled its intention to challenge the decision and/or make a change in the law to undermine it. This means that the long-term safety of the trees is not guaranteed.

Honor Maunga leader Anna Radford says there is no longer a need for the group to stay at the maunga as the trees are safe for the foreseeable future. There will, however, be a few more days to let the many maunga users across the city know about the development.

Although Honor the Maunga may end his physical presence, he will continue to defend the maunga trees and is ready to act quickly should there be a move to cut them down.

In addition, the group will campaign to raise awareness in this year’s local body elections about candidates for mayor, councilor and local council in Auckland who support and do not support saving maunga trees.

“We are and always have been an environmentally focused organisation, but along the way we have become aware of how the voices of Aucklanders are not only ignored but actively silenced by many elected representatives – in particular those of the Authority – and of the non-elected parties.

“It’s a big problem that goes way beyond the maunga tree issue,” she says.

“The Authority and Auckland Council have demonstrated destructive and divisive co-governance and we believe that valuable lessons can be learned so that this kind of toxic situation can be avoided in any future co-deal. -governance.”

Ms Radford says the Authority has acted in very bad faith on many counts, including misleading the public about its true intentions towards the maunga, and deliberately weaponizing and stoking racial tensions to deflect attention. of his own behavior.

“We are therefore very skeptical that any future consultation on the trees will be in good faith or representative of true democracy by the Authority or the Council.

“The upcoming local body elections provide an important opportunity to let the people of Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland who care about the future of maunga trees take action at the polls so that hopefully the next mayor and elected officials will address the Auckland community and its natural environment with greater integrity.

Honor the Maunga originally occupied Ōwairaka in November 2019 to prevent the Tūpuna Maunga co-governance authority from cutting down the maunga’s 345 exotic trees, almost half of its forest cover. In total, the taxpayer-funded body plans to clear the city’s maunga of around 2,500 non-native trees, despite Auckland council and central government declaring a climate emergency.

NOTES FOR MEDIA

There have been many misrepresentations on the maunga tree issue, so if you are reporting this story, please be aware:

Many news media have incorrectly positioned this issue as a Maori versus Pākeha issue; it’s not. For example, Shirley Waru (Te Rarawa o Ngāphui / Te Uri o Tai) has formed the Respect Mt Richmond / Otāhūhu tree protection group, which will occupy this maunga should the Authority decide to cut down its 443 non-native trees.

Honor the Maunga may have a Pākeha spokesperson, but it is not a Pākeha group. It has Maori and Pākeha patrons and its members are drawn from all races and walks of life.

Honor the Maunga is an environmental group. Despite what has been reported, we have no position on the treaty and no alignment or relationship with anti-treaty groups.

Honor the Maunga supports succession to fully native maunga vegetation over time, but we do not support the environmentally destructive processes proposed by the Authority. The succession of best practices takes place over decades, not months.

The Authority has variously announced plans for between 9,000 and 13,000 plantations in Ōwairaka, but very few of these plantations are actually tree species. The Authority’s planting plans and plantings to date show that most low-growing grasses, flaxseeds and shrubs should go to areas that are mostly free of exotic trees.

Tūpuna Maunga’s authority gave the misleading impression that it intended to conceal Auckland’s maunga in the trees. His planting plans and other information obtained through LGOIMA’s official information process show that, if the alien species disappear, the end result will be largely bare, barren-looking maunga with a few patches of plants. mostly low.

Maintaining exotic trees will not affect planned plantings of native vegetation, as such plantings are not planned where most exotic species are found. Therefore, leaving exotic species in place will not affect the native planting program and will provide many environmental benefits while new plantings reach maturity.

Honor the Maunga did not initiate the legal action, which was taken by two audience members Warwick and Averil Norman, who are not members of the band. The legal action was against the felling of Ōwairaka’s exotic trees. It was not against the native planting program.

© Scoop Media

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