The first ironwood tree being cut down by T&M Heather Contractor at the Avarua Sinai Hall. - 21052601
The Avarua CICC Church proceeded on Wednesday with cutting down six ironwood (toa) trees in preparation for what it described as a beautification project, which it expects will commence in two years.
beautification project has been planned by the church to celebrate the 200
years of Christianity arriving in Rarotonga. According to the church, some of
the trees are standing in the way of this project’s success.
to begin any tree cutting on Wednesday last week were interrupted by two landowners
from the Makea Nui line who showed up to defend the ancient trees, hoping to at
least come to a compromise. The land was donated to the church by the Makea Nui
two parties were able to come to a compromise, agreeing that six trees will be
removed and five will be preserved for the sake of history.
of the Parliament Tangata Vainerere, who acted as a mediator for the two
parties, said that although the beautification programme will not take place
for another two years, the trees need to be cut now so that the roots have time
to dry and be pulled out in a timely matter.
expressed his concern that the two parties were both angry simply because of a
lack of understanding. He said the previous landowners were not given any consideration
and therefore did not understand the church’s reasoning behind removing the
misunderstandings are why I am here as a mediator to bring the two sides
together and agree on a compromise,” said Vainerere.
Browne, who strongly opposed the removal of the trees, said: “We have lost the
battle but we do not want to lose the war.” Browne was present last week at the
site with her sister Diane Browne Holford.
expressed her deep sadness for the loss of the age-old trees. “We understand
this is no longer our land but nevertheless we are grieving the loss of these
trees which have earned their place in our country’s history.”
Holford was “somewhat happy with the compromise” the two parties managed to
reach, and was relieved that they were able to sit down calmly and discuss the
matter without any aggression.
am not completely happy but I am glad that they are leaving at least five of
the trees here to commemorate the past,” she said.
The first ironwood tree in front of the Sinai Hall in Avarua being pulled down - 21052602
in the future the church needs to understand the importance of giving more
consideration to the public. If we did not come and make an effort to preserve
these trees they would have gone ahead and cut down everything without
consulting anyone else.”
Macquarie, another descendant of the Makea Nui family line, joined Browne and
Holford to witness the falling of the trees on Wednesday.
expressed his frustration that no consideration was given to the traditional
landowners and acknowledged that although the church now has full ownership of
the land, “they have failed to respect the traditional landowners as well as
the end of the day, it is the people’s church and no consideration was even
given to them. You do not go cutting out parts of our history without consulting
people or not explaining what is going on. There needs to be more consideration
given to others who deserve a say.”
Paul Montbatten on 27/05/2021
Considering the age of the trees and the size, I am surprised that they are not being used in the construction of the church.
The price of lumber in North America is astronomical. Cutting down massive trees and not using them appropriately is a waste of resources .