TODAY |

Police drag protestors from fence as tempers flare at site of West Auckland native tree felling

There have been heated protests at the site of a West Auckland development as heavy machinery was brought in to start removing trees.

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There have been ugly scenes in Avondale as protestors try to prevent to removal of a stand of native trees. Source: 1 NEWS

Native trees on the section on the corner of Canal Road and Wairau Avenue in Avondale are set to come down, with a developer planning on building houses in their place.

There have been ongoing protests from those opposing their removal.

As contractors with diggers and chainsaws started working today, a crowd gathered, jeering police, security and workers.

Some attempted to scale the fence and had to be hauled back by police, while at least one woman managed to get through the fence. 

"Police are on site to ensure the safety of all people present and we are currently monitoring the situation," police said in a statement.

"Our role is to ensure the property owner can exercise their rights while also ensuring the protestors are able to exercise their rights to protest peacefully.

"Police will be ensuring the Trespass Act is adhered to and we encourage protestors to exercise their rights peacefully in a public space."

Juressa Lee of Mana Rakaū - Save Canal Road Native Trees said one person, who had been "occupying" a tree and was rigged to several others by rope, had been removed by police.

Trees at the site include black maire and kawakawa.

Kathy Waghorn told 1 NEWS she had been supporting Mana Rakaū for over 200 days, and every Monday morning spent time at the site looking over the trees. 

She said the loss of native trees was an incredible loss for the community.

She said the group wasn't anti-housing, but "we really need to protect special spaces in the city like these ones".