Three large, established eucalyptus trees have died in a reserve in Mosgiel, Dunedin after being deliberately drilled into and poisoned, an independent investigation has found.
The trees, located in the Kinmont Road reserve area near Mosgiel, were "a key feature of the reserve area," the New Zealand Transport Agency's coastal Otago maintenance contract manager, Nick Rodger, said in a statement.
"They were also being retained in the upcoming landscaping project due to start in the next couple of months.
"While the installation of new plants will start in the next couple of months, preparations are underway to remove unhealthy vegetation and prepare the garden beds."
The trees will be felled in the coming weeks.
They do not pose a safety hazard to users of the Kinmont Reserve, or to motorists on the adjacent State Highway 1, Mr Rodger said.
The Reserve will be closed to the public while the trees are cut down.