Rotorua Regional Airport Limited, a company owned by the Rotorua District Council, has constructed a new international airport at Te Ngae on the outskirts of Rotorua and is now claiming the right to destroy privately owned trees in a residential area a kilometre distant from its newly extended runway. Their purpose is to allow heavier long-haul aircraft to fly at lower altitude over the residential suburbs of Rotorua East. The affected trees are include kauri, copper beech, oak, eucalyptus, poplar and Douglas fir, all about 50 years old. RRAL has refused to offer compensation, or make restitution for the destruction of the trees.
On the website www.tengaetrees.com there are recently posted photographs of the disputed trees, and comment on the “Rotovegas” ethos and the constitutional ramifications of the dispute (click on the “Journal” link to read my commentary). I have been swamped with such a large volume of material critical of the RDC and RRAL that, unfortunately, I do not expect that I will be able to post more than a small proportion of it on the website. For the benefit of those who live in Rotorua, there will be a “Trees of Te Ngae Open Day” at 628 Te Ngae Road on Saturday September 5. The Environment Court hearing will be on September 9 in the Maori Land Court, Haupapa Street, Rotorua. (Subject to confirmation – check on www.tengaetrees.com) If the court rules that the trees must go, my struggle will not cease. Ka whawhai tonu matou, ake, ake, ake!