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Canal tree climbers to stay put when chainsaws arrive tomorrow - Steve Abel

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Police and contractors will try to clear protesters and attempt to cut down the remaining native trees at 56 Canal Road tomorrow (Wednesday 16 September) at 6am, say native tree campaigners.

Arborists, activists and Avondale locals are calling on Aucklanders to stand with them in "peaceful defence" of two dozen 100-year-old native trees.

"We are asking that people join us from 5:30am tomorrow at Canal Road to peacefully stand with us in defence of these irreplaceable native trees," says local Juressa Lee.

The Wednesday showdown will be the seventy-first day of a community tree sitting effort that has stayed the chainsaws since a developer required the large native trees (including rare Black Maire and Kawaka) to be felled.

Arboricultural teacher Zane Wedding has been part of the prolonged occupation. He and other climbers have constructed an intricate network of ropes and platforms with permanent sleeping facilities to thwart contractors from felling the trees.

"We are using all our knowledge and rope skills to protect these trees," says Wedding.

"Dozens of arborists are supporting the protection of these trees because we are sick of being on the frontline of tree destruction in Auckland."

"Canal Road is the line in the sand and we are calling on Aucklanders who love their urban forest to joint us early tomorrow morning. We need to make sure no more of these native trees are cut down at Canal Road."

Wedding is also convinced that if the tree occupiers are removed then the trees will be felled so he has no plans for coming down.

"It is crucial for us to remain in these trees or they will be lost. Their best defence is people power. Supporters on the ground will make a massive difference to our success," he says.

"Please come down and show Mayor Goff that we stand against this needless destruction,"

Activist Steve Abel says the community is calling on Mayor Phil Goff to acquire the land for a public reserve.

"If Phil Goff and the Auckland Council are serious about the Urban Ngahere Strategy they need to act now," he says. "The loss of this stand would be a terrible loss for Auckland and a permanent blot on the Council’s record."

Wedding says members of Tangata Kaitiaki placed an Aukati - Rāhui on the land last Sunday.

Rihari Nahi of Ngāti Whātua Ki Kaipara placed the ‘korowai’ of protection over the trees, he says.

"This Aukati should be respected and is incredibly meaningful to anyone with a respect for Tikanga Māori," he says. "The Aukati means no-one should step foot on this site without the intention of protecting this ngahere."

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