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Piha Mill puriri

Posted by SC Comments Off on Piha Mill puriri

Pururi when it first fell, August 2007

In August 2007 a huge storm swept a torrent of water down the Piha and Kitekite Streams, overflowing their banks, and the winds howled. An old puriri, which for hundreds of years had stood in the flat land at the head of the Piha Valley succombed to the elements and toppled over. The sturdy tree was overweighted by the forest of epiphytic plants – including puka and mahoe – that were growing in its crown, and the tree was already lop-sided to the east. Hence its roots gave way and it fell sideways.

First thoughts were that it would have to be felled, but tree experts said that old puriri often fell and simply kept growing. So the owner of the parkland on which the tree stood, the Auckland Regional Council, decided to pile soil around the exposed roots, fence the tree off and leave it to continue growing. For some time the tree looked a bit forlorn as it adjusted to its new placement, but by 2010 the tree was growing well in its fallen position.

Uplifted roots of puriri in Piha Mill Camp, 2007

The puriri can be seen in old photos of the Piha Mill by the bridge which led to the Piha incline. It was a landmark then because of its antiquity and shape, and is still a landmark even if in a different position.

The tree is on the northern side of Glen Esk Road in the grounds of Piha Mill Park (formerly Stedfast Park) in the Waitakere Regional Parkland.

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