|Historical Reg No:||398a|
|Registered By:||Grundy, P.R.|
|Registration Category:||Historic tree – National interest|
This tree is located on a prominent ridge above the city of Nelson called Signal Hill. An Historic Places Trust 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'.
A complete history of 'The Nelson Signal Station' can be viewed at www.nzetc.org.nz
The Historic Places Trust sign also records the lives of Wakefield & Songer.
Captain Arthur Wakefield 1799 – 1843
Arthur Wakefield resigned from the royal Navy in 1841 to join the New Zealand Company’s second colony. He led the preliminary expedition of three ships which reached Nelson in November 1841. Wakefield gained respect as a leader of the new settlement but there was discontent over the shortage of available land. In 1843 he decided to proceed with surveying in the Wairau Valley, despite protests by Maori. Wakefield was among those killed in a resulting confrontation at Tua Marina on 17 June 1843.
William Songer 1814 – 1904
William Songer came from the village of Stoke by Nayland in Suffolk, England. He joined the preliminary expedition to Nelson as Captain Arthur Wakefield’s personal servant. Songer began farming in Suburban South and at his suggestion the area was named Stoke, after his home village. A stalwart of St. Barnabas Church, he filled a number of its offices, including church warden and sexton. William Songer died on 13 August 1904 at the age of 90.
|Common names:||giant sequoia, giant redwood, Sierra redwood, Wellingtonia|
|Given Name:||The 'Songer Tree'|
|Height measurement method:||Laser Nikon Forestry 550|
|Height Comments:||shots of 1.4 + 23.6m|
|Girth measurement height:||1.4 m|
|Crown Spread A:||11.50m|
|Crown Spread B:||12.00m|
|Avg. Crown Spread:||11.75m|
|Actual Planting Date:||Jul 1900|
|Approx. Planting Date:||
e.g. circa. 1860
|Current Age:||115 years|
|Tree Health Description:||In very good health despite the top dying of cypress canker in 1997. The top and other infected growth was removed and this appears to have arrested further spread of the disease. BGC.2010|
|Tree Form Type:||Single Trunk|
|Number of Trunks:||1|
|Tree Form Comments:||The top has been removed. Branching almost to the ground.|
|Champion Tree Score:||268|
|Local Protection Status:||Yes|
|17 Jul 2010||Cadwallader, B.G.|
|10 Jan 1994||Grundy, P.R.|