Norfolk Island Pine and Pohutukawa
Norfolk Island Pine and Pohutukawa, Araucaria heterophyllia and Metrosideros excelsa
Location: Corner of Marine Parade and Coote Road
Significance: Their location and historical association
The four Norfolk Island Pines and three Pohutukawa marking the northern end of Marine Parade carry a preservation status because of their important association with the early history of the area.
Looking north, the trees form a bold mass, concealing the view of the rocky face of Bluff Hill where it overlooks the Napier port. Seen further up Coote Road, the group forms a closure at the foot of the gully. The Pohutukawa provide an understorey of foliage, giving a dense lateral base to the group, while the Norfolk Island Pines thrust up in counterpoint.
The trees occupy a triangular site set aside as a reserve sometime in the 1880s. A photograph dated 1889, held by the Hawke's Bay Museum, shows them enclosed by an elaborate picket fence.
Council archives provide no record of the reserve's purpose. However, a Maori source has claimed that the site originally had a commemorative stone or urupa erected to mark the agreement of Tareha Te Moananui of Ngati Kahugnunu to the transfer of the Napier Hill to the Crown.
There appears to be a stone or wooden obelisk in the 1889 photograph. No trace of this artifact remains today. If the claim is correct, then the trees on the site today represent the only tangible link with this event in the early European history of the area and they therefore have an important historical association.