Opinion: Sacred trees damaged

Pohutakawa trees on Wainui Reserve that were planted in memory of community members have recently been discovered damaged and even cut down.

Please read this message from Fred Lichtwark of Whaingaroa Harbour Care about the significance of these trees:

Wainui Reserve is not just one of the most scenic reserves in NZ  but a very special place that has a high degree spiritual significance to a lot of people.

A number of trees planted on the reserves are living memorials of loved ones as well as trees planted to celebrate a new life, a very special event with these scared trees being given protection by Waikato District Council.

The trees themselves, in most cases, have special significance. For example, a very special Pohutukawa had significant meaning to me and others within the Whaingaroa and Kawhia community.

Back in 1999, some seed was collected from the 1000 year plus old ancient, sacred Pohutukawa tree in Kawhia, the same tree that the Tainui waka tied up to 800 years ago.

That seed was blessed and gifted to Whaingaroa Harbour Care here in Raglan, to grow on to become beautiful specimens, and have been used to plant on many of Raglan’s coastal reserves

Most were used to honour our very special people, to turn in to living memorials to celebrate their lives. 

When some fool rips branches off them or poisons their roots or cuts them down, the fools will never know why their luck has suddenly changed for the worse. I am a strong believer in karma good or bad.

The tree was planted in memory of my friend (Philip) Piripi Kereopa who put many years of his life in to the Wainui Reserve and being on the management committee for the reserve.

Piripi passed on his knowledge of the history of the land that his ancestors had lived on. The land which we know now as Wainui Reserve, that is now also our play ground, (Philip) Piripi Kereopa, who named the road after the pa site, Te Paeakaraoa Rd, the rod beside which, his tree was planted. This tree has just been cut down in the last week, by a fool, I feel so very sorry for them.