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Tree Information x

Identifier: WTR/1882
Tree Type: Single
Registered By: Lloyd, M.
Registration Category: Historic tree/s – Local interest
General Notes:
One of two Phoenix palms in the grounds of Gracefield School. The school was founded in 1939 in the Lower Hutt suburb of Waiwhetu.
Both palms were planted to commemorate the tragic death of Robert Fitchett, a school pupil who was hit by a bus on the pedestrian crossing in front of the school on 23 November 1944. Beneath a flagpole very close to the two palms there is a plaque commemorating Robert (see photo below), but the school has no exact record for the planting date of the palms[1]. They appear to have been planted a few years after Robert’s death: an aerial photo[2] from 1958 clearly shows a plan view of the two palms in front of the main school building; their size at the time of this photo suggests a planting date of circa 1950. The palms are a significant local arboreal feature closely associated with the school. For about a decade prior to 2023, the school logo (see image below) featured the palms as background to a representation of a student. This was replaced in 2023 with an image without the palms, but this change was part of regular ‘rebranding’, not because of opposition to the palms per se [3]. When the school became aware of potential hazards from falling palm fronds, they opted to educate pupils, parents, and staff, including the placement of yellow circular signs with ‘Look Out! Fronds May Fall’ on both palm trunks (see photo below). No one has yet been hit by a falling frond, and despite the palms requiring regular maintenance, the palms should continue being a visible part of the school and its identity into the foreseeable future (Lloyd, M., 2023).

Acknowledgement: Michael Brown first M. Lloyd to the palm’s existence and also sourced the aerial photos allowing estimation of planting date (see reference 2). Thanks to Kelly Barker for providing extra information.

[1] Personal communication, Kelly Barker (Principal), April 4, 2023.
[2] Hutt City Council historic aerial photos.
[3] Personal communication: Kelly Barker (Principal), April 4, 2023.

Single Tree Details

Genus: Phoenix
Species: canariensis
Common names: Canary Island date palm, phoenix palm
Height: 9.50m
Height measurement method: Estimated
Height Comments: (none)
Girth: 0 cm
Girth measurement height: 0 m
Girth Comments: no measurement taken
Diameter: 0 cm
Crown Spread A: 7.00m
Crown Spread B: 7.00m
Avg. Crown Spread: 7.00m
Actual Planting Date: actual date not specified
Approx. Planting Date: circa 1950
e.g. circa. 1860
Current Age: 74 years
Tree Health Description: excellent
Tree Form Type: Single Trunk
Number of Trunks: 1
Tree Form Comments: Standard Phoenix palm central trunk with crown.
Champion Tree Score: 37
Local Protection Status: No
Tree Present: Yes
STEM Score: 0


Date Observer Action
09 Apr 2023 Lloyd, M.


Lat/Long: -41.23161959938989 / 174.91563904285434
Location Name: Gracefield School
Address: 20A Bell Road
Suburb: Waiwhetu
City/Town: Lower Hutt
Region: Wellington
Location Description: In grounds of Gracefield School, visible from the road.
Public Accessibility: School/University
Local Authority: Hutt City Council


Preview Credit Date
Michael Lloyd 09 Apr 2023
Michael Lloyd 09 Apr 2023
Michael Lloyd 09 Apr 2023
Michael Lloyd 09 Apr 2023
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