#5 Songer Tree



Nelson City, Nelson Tasman

Nominated by:

New Zealand Notable Trees Trust

Photo Credit:

Brad Cadwallader

NZ Tree Register Number:


The New Zealand Tree Register (NZTR) holds detailed information on notable trees in New Zealand.

This tree was first planted on Arbor Day 1900 (25 July) on a prominent ridge above the city of Nelson called Signal Hill. A Heritage New Zealand sign beside the tree reads;

'The Songer Tree was planted in memory of Captain Arthur Wakefield. William Songer was invited by the Nelson City Council to assist at the planting. Songer provided a link back to the first signal staff on the site, having been present when the Union Jack was hoisted on 13 December 1841. The planting of the tree, donated by local nurseryman John Hale, was arranged for 25 July 1900. Due to a misunderstanding, the 84-year-old was late for the ceremony and was disappointed to find the tree had already been planted. This caused vigorous debate at the next council meeting. Councillor Baigent insisted that it had to be replanted because the inscription said that it had been planted under the direction of William Songer. His argument won the day, despite a warning from John Hale that the tree might not survive such treatment. On 20 August 1900 it was dug up and William Songer replanted it in a most workmanlike manner. Fortunately, the tree flourished and, by a strange quirk, came to be known by the name of the man who planted it, rather than that of the man whose memory it was planted'.


(ref: New Zealand Tree Register record NNR/0749)