One of the ironwood (toa) tree stumps outside the CICC church, where at least five trees used to stand. 21060923
Landowners say they have been betrayed after more old-growth Toa trees were removed yesterday at Avarua CICC Church, despite earlier protests and negotiations.
have now cut down nine ironwood (toa) trees at Sinai Hall and the Cook Islands
Christian Church (CICC) in Avarua, contradicting an earlier agreement with
landowners and members of the public.
protests halted the removal of the ancient trees from the church grounds last
month, stakeholders reached an agreement that six trees would be cut down and
five would be preserved for the sake of history.
crews worked with chainsaws throughout the day to remove the trees, which once
framed the historical CICC church.
of the trees have now been removed, with the exception of a few that still
stand near the main road at the entrance to the Sinai Hall driveway.
church’s reasoning for removing the trees was explained by Tangata Vainerere
last month, who was acting as a mediator between the CICC church and the
said the trees needed to be removed in preparation for a ‘beautification
program’, which was said to commence in two years.
church remained silent on Wednesday, refusing to comment on the matter.
Noelene Browne, a descendent of the Makea Nui line and one of the traditional landowners, had fought and protested for the preservation of the trees during the past month.