It’s just a tree…

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…and there are millions of them all across New Zealand. All across the world! It’s not like we’re short of trees.

Piled up next to the ferry terminals in Wellington and Picton, and at the ports of Lyttleton and Auckland, are hundreds of thousands of logs (that used to be growing trees) waiting to be exported to other parts of the world to be sawn, drilled, bashed and pulped.

And there are plenty more ready to take their place when they’re chopped down. Trees do, after all, grow!

So what’s the big deal about the kauri tree in Titirangi, west of Auckland?

Well, it’s 500 years old. And it’s in the way of two new houses that have building consent. Auckland city council have sensibly given the landowners permission to cut down the tree and begin construction.

But the tree is 500 years old, I hear you cry. Yes, but just because it’s old it doesn’t mean that it’s special. Lots of things, when they get old, need moving or replacing. What about your clothes or cellphone? They get replaced after – what? – a year or two? And haircuts – and they’re alive – are chopped and changed…

Auckland, like many, many cities across the world, is facing a housing crisis. There are more people who need to live and work in major cities than there is adequate housing. And here we have a bizarre situation where the building of two much-needed homes is being delayed because of protests over just one tree.

Talking of old, let’s cast our minds back hundreds of years. Or to even more recent history. Or, in fact, to now. Houses are built of wood. Wood comes from trees. We need to chop down trees to build houses to live in…

So there is it. The ideal solution. Chop down the kauri tree in Titirangi. And use the wood to build two houses – the homes get built, people have somewhere to live, and the tree (kind of) gets to stay where it is. Perfect!

Article written by Ben Egerton

[colored_box color=”green”]This is an opinion-based article designed to provoke debate, discussion and further inquiry
amongst your students:[/colored_box] 

[colored_box color=”yellow”]Critical Thinking Challenges:

1. It’s just one tree, but what is the bigger problem that cutting down the Titirangi kauri tree highlights?

2. If you were making the decision for Auckland council about the tree – but knew that more houses needed to be built – how would you decide and what action would you take?

3. Just because something is old, should it be valued?


[colored_box color=”green”]Practical Tasks:

1. A significant proportion of New Zealand’s exports are made up of wood and wood products. With a classmate, compile a list of everything you can think of that’s made with wood or wood products. Then go online or to the library and look up what wood is used for or in. Compare your lists. What did you get right? What are you surprised by?

2. The article above is in favour of cutting down the tree. Write an opinion article arguing that the tree should be saved.


[colored_box color=”red”]Have Your Say:
[socialpoll id=”[socialpoll id=”2257454″]





31 Responses

  1. i definitely disagree with that!how could anyone do that i love trees and i certainly dont want them chopped down!:-( 🙁

  2. What about things from ancient history?? They are MUCH older ans yet we care so much for them!! I say this is an important piece of NZ! Its native, go cut down a Pine, they WERE shipped here to grow, chop down, re-plant new tree, repeat, for houses! just go build 1 of the houses elsewhere!

  3. sometimes we need trees for houses and other things but just don’t cut toooo many down

  4. Yay I’m sooooo glad it been saved. I mean how many 500 year old trees have you seen? 🙂 😀 😛 :^)

  5. never ever !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! why would you

  6. I think that the tree should NOT BE CUT DOWN!!!!!!!!!!!! let it live until it dies, see how long it can live for. DO NOT CUT DOWN THE TREE!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. dont cut any tree down because……

    …trees give us oxogen for us to breath and if they keep cutting trees down we wont be alive
    {if there are no trees that means no oxogen and that means no people}

  8. i agree with ben if the tree has to get cut down use it to bild the houses
    but no i dont think it should get cut down:o

  9. I strongly disagree. When we grow older we will have a major shortage of trees and this tree could make a difference to keeping the trees. Yes old things do need to be replaced but ancient things that are valuable to people/countries need to be kept. Good on the guy who stayed up in that tree!

  10. But it’s a native tree. And any way if you cut down too many trees then it will be harder to breath. Even though we are kids we still know what trees do for the world, so if you keep cutting them down no one will have fresh air.

  11. Anyway Kauri trees are Native trees and they are protected since they are Native I strongly disagree that it should be cut down it is a part of Nature and the trees were here before we were. :-/

  12. OMG just let it live until it dies. Trees are living things that breath and grow like us and Kauri trees are native and it would be much better if people only cut down pines that were introduced.

  13. Why cut it down it. It’s part of Nz it’s living and we may find it harder to breath in say 50 years there will be few trees and everyone thinks that it is just one tree if it’s one then it’s 50000

  14. woah that is a grandpa tree. (500 YEARS OLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)
    they should let it grow its from back in the day.
    how would you like it if you were 500 years old and was going to get demolished to make something else

  15. Whoever voted “Chop it down” is probably American, not knowing how special Kauri are to us.

  16. I voted don’t cut it down, because Kauri tree’s are special, but that guy who climbed it and kind of camped up the tree is a bit ridiculous right?

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