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Notable Trees

This section of the Draft District Plan identifies and manages Napier’s important trees, both individual and as groups.

Notable Trees

Napier’s urban trees contribute to a memorable and liveable city. They provide a sense of place, shade, a home for a wide range of fauna including birds and insects, a connection to our past, and contribute to clean air. Notable trees are those that demonstrate characteristics such as rarity, excellence in form and stature, a connection to a significant event or person, or are landmarks. They are trees that people would feel aggrieved were they to be cut down.


  • The Resource Management Act identifies the protection of historic heritage as a matter of national importance and requires Council’s to identify and appropriately manage historic heritage. Notable Trees are considered to be part of historic heritage.
  • Napier’s current District Plan already protects 30 Notable Trees, all located on council-owned reserves.
  • Periodically, it is important to review and update this list, to remove those trees that have died or been removed, and to include additional trees that warrant protection.
  • Provisions of the District Plan in relation to Notable Trees are designed to provide for the maintenance of these trees, while preventing their damage or destruction without proper assessment.

Draft District Plan Response 

  • We have reviewed the current list and removed those that have died or been removed (generally because of ill health or health and safety concerns).
  • A scan of the city resulted in a further 206 trees being assessed (using the best practice STEM assessment method).
  • All additional trees assessed are located on Council-owned public land.
  • Those trees that achieved a STEM score above a defined threshold were put forward for inclusion in the Notable Trees schedule. This give us a total of 76 Notable Trees.
  • Where individual trees did not achieve this STEM threshold, but were a part of an avenue of trees that included trees that did achieve the STEM threshold, the entire avenue has been recommended for inclusion.
  • Provisions to manage these protected trees have remained similar to the current District Plan rules where maintenance can occur but beyond this a formal assessment is required.

Protecting trees located on private property can cause problems. These range from issues such as shading, leaf drop, risks to people and damage to neighbouring properties through to who pays for trees to be maintained. Inclusion in the Notable Trees schedule of the District Plan is not the only tool available for the ongoing protection of trees, meaning that property owners have other options available should they wish to pursue the ongoing protection of their tree(s) (for example covenants on Certificates of Title).

The Standard Tree Evaluation Method (or STEM) is a widespread and best practice method of evaluating heritage and notable trees for District Plan around the country. When evaluating a tree for its significance, scores are allocated for a set of criteria such as size, prominence, rarity, role in its setting, life expectancy, form, and historical and/or cultural value. It is at the discretion of each council to set the threshold for inclusion in any schedule for protection, Napier City Council has set this threshold at a total score of 180 or above.

If you believe we have missed a tree located on Council-owned land that you think is worthy of protection, or you believe protection for trees should extend to private property, you can provide feedback on the Draft District Plan through the advertised channels.


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