Seriously…they are…theÂ weirdoÂ tree hugging loons of Buller…going to hold a funeral for a tree:
Buller conservationists plan to hold a wake for a 500-year-old kahikatea tree that was felled by the Department of Conservation so it could extend a nearby tramping hut.
DoC is adamant the tree had to go to keep trampers staying at the Mokihinui Forks Hut safe.
However, Westport conservationist Peter Lusk is horrified, and says the tree had stood firm for centuries.
“It was here when Abel Tasman sailed past,” Mr Lusk said today.Â
The hut was extended as DoC starts to open up the Old Ghost Road walking and tramping route, with an expected surge in numbers.
With boughs overhanging the hut, DoC had chopped it down and cut it up into firewood, rather than move the hut, Mr Lusk said.
People familiar with the area were grief-stricken: “It’s like you’ve lost an old friend.”