Melia5In 2004 Hastings District Council bottled its own olive oil from 103 olive trees adorning its city’s streets.
BayBuzz think squeezing civic pride from the 103 trees was quite simply, an exemplary move.

That’s why the concurrent decision to fill much of Hastings and Havelock North CBD with ‘melia’ trees, (also called ‘white cedar’ or ‘bead trees’) is a little baffling.

Every morning this journalist avoids the trees’ hardened berries (see photo) that litter the footpaths, and struggles to see the logic behind the specimen choice: it’s not native, it drops ball bearing-like slip-happy berries, and is so high maintenance it affords year round employment (courtesy ratepayers) for council’s hardworking pavement sweeper (see photo).

Just one more minor point for the Landmarks’ team, in case you’re considering harvesting the berries it may pay to check with Landcare Research, who list melia as a poisonous tree.

Alternatively, for people intent on shuffling off this mortal coil, melia provides a wealth of options: you could skid on said berries and stove your scone, get flattened by the morning footpath sweeper, or overdose on a handful of toxic berries.


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