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Controversial tree felled

The tree after its main branches were chopped off in preparation for felling. PHOTO/GIANINA SCHWANECKE

Protesters nowhere to be seen as oak finally comes down

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The age-old question – if a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? – was answered on Thursday, when the controversial oak tree outside St Andrew’s Union Church on Featherston’s main street came down without protest.

The church announced plans to cut down the tree in November as they could no longer afford the maintenance costs of keeping branches away from powerlines overhead.

The next few months had several protests organised by angry community members who said the tree was part of Featherston’s heritage and one protest even included a police presence – but none were there to watch as the tree finally came down on Thursday morning.

St Andrew’s Union Church member Corrie Dykhorst was on site to oversee the operations by Treescape.

She said she was relieved it had finally come down as the tree posed a liability to passing pedestrians.

“You know the wind we have here in Featherston.”

The tree had also been causing other problems.

“It’s not only the liability – there’s a drain under there somewhere and all the acorns fall on to the roof blocking our drain.

“This one was planted in the wrong place, under all the power lines.”

It cost the church from $1600 to $1800 up to twice a year to keep the tree clear of two power lines which ran over the Fox St plot.

Some of those protesting the tree’s felling had offered to cover maintenance costs by establishing a trust, but Dykhorst asked how long they would be willing to do so for.

She said Powerco had also offered to cover the costs of planting something new at the front of the church.

If it had been a smaller tree or indigenous species, things might have been different, she said.

It took the Treescape team just over five hours to cut down the tree and Dykhorst said the wood from the felled tree would be donated to the Featherston Lions Club to distribute to families in need.


  1. As we get older we regret the trees that we, or our ancestors, planted because of their danger to others and our inability to keep them in check. Everyone loves the trees and shrubbery around their properties, but as we get older it is harder to manage large ones and sometimes it is better to cut them down and start with something more appropriate.

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