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Nothing adds beauty to a property quite like a stunning native tree. From Pōhutukawa to Pūriri and Kōwhai to Kauri, we’re fortunate to have what nature provides us here in Aotearoa.
However, with a native tree comes some responsibilities you may not have considered – particularly if you live in Auckland. Whether you’re about to make some changes to your property, or you simply want to know what your obligations are regarding protected trees, read on.
Which Trees Are Protected in Auckland?
Auckland Council encourages all residents to “check before you chop” when it comes to undertaking any tree felling projects in Auckland – and sometimes in surrounding regions. Even if you own the land on which a protected tree is sitting, that doesn’t mean you have consent to chop it down.
If a tree is in the way of a renovation project, it can be worth finding out whether it’s on the protected tree list in NZ.
So, which trees appear on this list? One of the most prominent trees is the Kauri. Although, you would know if such a tree was present in your backyard since it can grow up to over 50 metres tall, with a girth up to around 16 metres.
The Pōhutukawa, a staple graphic on a Kiwi Christmas card, also appears on the list, as does the beautiful Tōtara, Puriri, and Norfolk Pine.
If you’re not sure whether you have protected trees on your land or not, it can be worth contacting a tree care provider in Auckland or the Auckland City Council to find out. Otherwise, you may end up accidentally chopping down an incredibly important tree.
What it Means for a Tree to Be Protected
If you have discovered that you can’t cut down a tree because it appears to be protected, then you may wonder why that is. Surely your tree can’t be that special, right?
There is a myriad of different ways for the Auckland City Council to categorise your tree. It may be referred to as scheduled, notable, or listed.
Protection may also be provided for your tree because it’s a resource consent condition, or is protected by a covenant or consent notice on the property title. Your tree may also be subject to a general tree protection rule.
Automatic protection isn’t granted to a specific class or species, except on the Hauraki Gulf Islands. Here, the island receives an extra layer of statutory protection due to its landscapes, biodiversity, and spiritual importance.
You Might Need a Resource Consent
Something you may not be aware of as the owner of a protected tree is that you require resource consent to fell it, prune it, or build near it. Given that rules can change surrounding what you can and can’t do with protected trees, it can be worth contacting your local council or a tree care company to learn more. Knowledge is power, and making a few phone calls may prevent you from making a mistake you can’t fix.
The Steps To Take When You Need Emergency Tree Removal in Auckland
When you are the proud owner of a beautiful Pōhutukawa, Pūriri, Kōwhai, or another protected tree, it can be heartbreaking when you realise it’s now posing a danger.
It might be too close to powerlines, sustained damage in a storm, diseased and dying, or it might be impacting your home or other structures on your property. Before you start the tree felling process, you still need to take a few critical steps to ensure that removing a protected tree is the only option you have.
1. Receive written advice from a professional arborist
2. Take photos of the tree and the problems it’s facing or causing
3. Explain why the tree needs to be urgently removed
4. Describe the tree’s condition.
Given your need for a professional arborist or tree care expert in Auckland, it can be worth contacting the New Zealand Arboricultural Association for a list of numbers in Auckland to call. Pro Climb is one such business that may be able to provide the help you need.
Getting Expert Help
Many homeowners love having well-established trees on their property that provide shade, shelter, noise reduction, and erosion protection.
However, native trees that are protected can require a bit of extra care above and beyond what you would provide for a non-native tree.
Before you undertake tree trimming, tree pruning, tree felling, tree spraying, or something else, contact tree service providers in Auckland. They can advise you of your rights and requirements and make sure they are doing what’s best for you and your tree. We provide tree services for councils, helping them consult with difficult tree work across Auckland.
If you need a helping hand with caring for native trees, they can also share their expertise on mulching, watering, and general care that gives your protected native trees the best chance of survival.
Do I need consent to remove, prune, or alter protected trees on my property?
Yes, you may need consent from the local council to remove, prune, or alter protected trees on your property. The Resource Management Act (RMA) in New Zealand regulates the management and protection of trees.
What species of trees are commonly protected in New Zealand?
The species of trees commonly protected in New Zealand can vary depending on the local regulations and district plans. However, native trees such as kahikatea, totara, rimu, and kauri are often protected due to their ecological significance and cultural heritage.