A spectacular tree lives 150 years but ends up getting whacked by Jesus.
The Hutt Valley has always filled me with great dread and claustrophobia. The uniformity and conformity of the housing with a sprinkling of discreet palatial private dwellings hidden within the flax. Queensgate Mall. The vast flood plain situation with the Rimutaka and Orongorongo Ranges as the source of various potential catastrophes. Stokes Valley is right up there with Cannon's Creek and Otara as one of the most depressing places to live.
Taita isn't much better. Tidier, yeah but it's still pretty grim. Little wonder then that a 150-year old monster of a Pohutukawa had a bit of a following.
It has since been demolished to make way for a fundamentalist church assembly hall. The Hosanna World Outreach Centre is importing its Big Box Church Franchise direct from the Southern US metropolis of religion. Taita locals reckon the new building will be about as beautiful as a gang headquarters. The church has refused to meet media and locals to discuss anything.
In Google-time the tree still stands:
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Have a look around the place. It was the only beauty for miles. We kiwis aren't that fond of statues. We prefer more organic monuments, and this tree was truly monumental. It's nothing like Auckland, where there are Pohutukawas for Africa and they are protected as if they were endangered. But it seems to can lop any big bastard off without a sniff of official protest in the slutty Hutt.
The tree did not add to GDP. The church development does. Ergo, the tree gets it. This tree survived Rogernomics but it couldn't survive Baptists. Yesterday's NatRad Panel went into it in painful detail. The Lower Hutt Mayor fronted on today's show, sounding very much like the bypass project manager at the start of Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. I half expected mention of filing cabinets in disused lavatories with signs saying Beware of the Leopard.
But it's not just the failure of the mayor. The whole sad matter should weigh on the minds of the ward councillors in both the Lower Hutt and Wellington Regional Councils. It seems all the paperwork to objections was available but no-one had the nerve to start the paper chain and take responsibility.
We let Chinese security rough up our MPs on our own sacred grounds. Landmarks are lopped down for McJesus shops. Fucken' NZ, eh. We sell you soul, love you long time!