Sept. 24, 2021, 7:43 p.m.
The local Ahipara community and Te Rarawa iwi members are devastated that a significant pōhutukawa was desecrated by a man commissioned to remove it. The tree is associated closely with the Te Rarawa ancestor Toakai and it is reputed to be at least 200 years old.
Te Rarawa chairman, Haami Piripi, states that the Far North District Council have failed in their role to protect the tree, "the purpose of the reserve was to protect the tree, and clearly the reserve hasn't been able to achieve that."
Council CEO, Shaun Clarke, is assuring the community that an investigation is underway to understand exactly what has happened and to ensure that the rules relating to the protection of the tree are made very clear.