Heritage & notable trees

Find out about heritage trees in Wellington, how to protect them, and what to do if a listed tree is affecting your property or appears unsafe.

What are heritage trees?

Wellington City Council recognises the importance of trees in an urban environment and we protect notable trees by listing them as heritage trees in the District Plan.

We have assessed these trees as visually, ecologically or historically important. These trees strengthen Wellington City’s sense of place and contribute to the quality and diversity of the environment that makes our city unique.

There are rules and conditions to make sure these trees are maintained to a safe and healthy standard for the benefit of future generations.

How can I get a tree protected?

If you would like to protect a tree on your land, email district.plan@wcc.govt.nz and give the following details:

  • Location of the tree
  • Name of the property owner
  • Type of tree
  • Why you think the tree should be protected
  • Your contact number

We will arrange a STEM (Standard Tree Evaluation Method) assessment on the tree's condition, its impact on the landscape and any notable features. We then use this information to decide if it should be a listed tree in the District Plan.

See the list of Wellington's heritage trees

More than 150 Wellington trees are listed in Wellington City Council's District Plan and are protected. About half of these trees are on private property. 

See the list of heritage trees in Chapter 21 of Volume 1 in the District Plan

Looking after these trees

If you want to do anything to a listed tree, or any excavation or construction work near a listed tree, contact a Council planner or arborist for free advice:  Email treeteam@wcc.govt.nz

Pruning work

For any pruning work, you will need to engage a New Zealand Arboricultural Association-approved contractor. See the register of approved contractors: Approved Contractors - NZ Arb

If the tree is near power lines

If the tree is getting close to power lines, contact Wellington Electricity.

When you will need a resource consent

If you employ an approved contractor, you don’t need a resource consent to do minor trimming including:

  • removing broken branches, minor dead wood or branches that have been assessed as diseased by a qualified arborist
  • removing minor branches that are touching buildings, structures, overhead wires or utility networks - however you must still let Wellington Electricity know if the work you are planning is near power lines.

You do need to apply for a resource consent if you want to:

  • do anything other than minor trimming outlined above
  • partially or completely remove the tree
  • build, do earthworks or any other work in the tree's root zone, even if the tree is on your neighbour's property.

To apply for a resource consent, visit wellington.govt.nz/resourceconsents or phone 04 499 4444.

Excavation work

For any excavations near the tree, you will need to employ a suitably-qualified professional consultant arborist who is experienced in the management of trees in land development situations. The consultant will advise you on how to complete this work without major impacts to the tree. 

For a list of local consultant arborists, email treeteam@wcc.govt.nz

Neighbours’ or Council trees

If a listed neighbouring or Council tree is overhanging or shading your property, contact a Council arborist for advice - email treeteam@wcc.govt.nz or phone 04 499 4444.

If it’s not a listed tree, speak with your neighbour – the Council has no authority over trees on private land, unless they are listed trees.

What if it's an emergency?

Contact us immediately if you think the tree is potentially dangerous or could damage property. We will advise what you need to do next. 

If the tree needs work, or if it has to be removed for safety reasons, you will need to employ an approved contractor through the New Zealand Arboricultural Association

More information

Council arborists can give you advice on heritage and notable trees. Phone 04 499 4444 or email treeteam@wcc.govt.nz