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11 November 2022

Avarua landmark falls: Iconic flamboyant tree cut down after 130 years

Saturday 24 February 2024 | Written by Melina Etches | Published in Features, Memory Lane

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Avarua landmark falls: Iconic flamboyant tree cut down after 130 years
The once was magnificent iconic flamboyant tree that has graced the Avarua roundabout in town for around 130 years, is no more. MELINA ETCHES/24022220 or 2221 or 2222

The iconic flamboyant tree that graced the Avarua roundabout in town for around 130 years is no more.

Cook Islands News understands that the tree collapsed in the early hours of Thursday morning. Ministry of Internal Affairs staff were seen cutting up and clearing the broken branches and finally cutting the tree down due to the rot inside its trunk.

In May 2019, large branches of the tree had fallen down, and the tree was trimmed in an effort to save it.

However, this time around, there appears to be too much rotting deterioration, posing a hazard to motorists and the public. Therefore, the tree was cut down.

National Archives records show that the flamboyant tree was brought to Rarotonga, Cook Islands, by the first British resident, Frederick Joseph Moss.

Moss was born in Longwood, St Helena, likely in 1827 or 1828.

He arrived in New Zealand with his wife Emily and their three children on November 12, 1859.

In 1886, he toured several Pacific islands. In 1889, after the Cook Islands became a British protectorate, it was agreed that the New Zealand government, responsible for administration costs, could nominate the British resident to head the government. Moss was appointed in 1890.

The flamboyant tree typically displays its splendor, dazzling the island landscape in its deep glory of red, from November through to January.