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Taken away . . . Clyde community volunteer Lynne Stewart overlooks the spot where a popular kowhai tree once stood. PHOTO: ADAM BURNS

ADAM.BURNS
@alliedpress.co.nz

Community volunteers in Clyde are angry after a large kowhai tree was taken from its habitation.

The kowhai was planted near the the Clyde Bridge end of the Clyde-Alexandra Riverside Trail in 2011.

Clyde Community and Enviroschools Ecological Restoration Group manager Lynne Stewart said in a letter to the editor (page 4) “shame on you, instead of buying a kowhai at a nursery, you dug ours up and took it away”.

The kowhai was initially donated by the Cromwell Polytechnic Nursery and was maintained by Clyde community volunteers along with teachers and pupils of the Clyde School Enviroschool programme.

Speaking to the Central Otago News, Ms Stewart said “it was a perfect healthy kowhai tree.”

“People have been asking me where the kowhai tree has gone.

“It’s just disappointing to have people taking away your best trees.”

An Enviroschool pupil had been involved in the planting of the kowhai and began video-documenting its growth.

“The children are really disappointed,” Ms Stewart said.

The surrounding area, which is public land administered by the Central Otago District Council, has had numerous volunteers helping with planting and clearing shrubs and trees in the spot.

“We’ve had really good groups of people aged between 5 and 86,” Ms Stewart said.

Periodic detention workers also helped clear briar and blackberry in the area.

Ms Stewart believes the tree was removed “some time over Christmas-New Year”.

“It could’ve made for a wonderful Christmas present.”

A council spokeswoman said they were unaware of the tree being removed and would look into the matter.

Ms Stewart later confirmed mayor Tim Cadogan had been in touch and was planning on donating a new kowhai.