Friday, 30 October 2020


Battle is over for ailing kauri tree at Soldiers Memorial Park

Whitianga must bid farewell to the kauri tree that has graced the outside of the Mercury Bay Library at Soldiers Memorial Park for the past 25 years.

The tree was originally planted at the Mercury Bay Bowling Club in 1945 and then relocated to its current site in 1996. However, Thames-Coromandel District Council says it has suffered extensive crown dieback and is showing very little recovery.

Crown dieback is a disease that kills branches and branch tips generally in the upper and outer portions of the tree crown. “There’s still a small amount of live growth, but not enough to sustain the tree’s health and any remedial pruning works to remove dead branches will leave it in poor form and structure,” council says in a statement. “Our contractors watered the root zone during the drought [this year], however this had to stop during lockdown and the extreme conditions eventually took their toll.

“Like most of our native tree species, kauri prefer a forest situation and are not well suited to sandy soil. Any change in conditions with extended hot and dry periods leaves even established trees vulnerable. The tree will be removed before the summer holiday period. Unfortunately, there’s many native trees lost throughout Whitianga due to the drought. We’ll replace this tree with a species better suited to the soil conditions and will also make the felled trunk available for community projects such as carving.”

Pictured: The kauri tre located outside the Mercury Bay Library at Soldiers Memorial Park.


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The Mercury Bay Informer is a highly popular community newspaper, based in Whitianga. The paper is distributed throughout the Coromandel Peninsula, coast to coast from Thames to north of Colville.