Significant trees will have their stories told

The Queenstown Lakes District Council will install information plaques to outline the history of some of the district's distinctive trees this year.

Parks technical officer Gordon Bailey said 19th century pioneers had left living legacies of exotic trees across the district, many of which had been officially recognised on the New Zealand Tree Register.

Many were on council-owned reserves and listed in the council's district plan, giving added protection, he said.

The national database included Queenstown's often photographed ''Trees of Justice'' near the Queenstown courthouse.

The sequoias (Sequoiadendron giganteum) were understood to have been planted outside the courthouse around 1876 by Phillip Boult, clerk of the Lake County Council.

According to the description in the register, Mr Boult decided Queenstown should copy the American tradition of planting trees outside the courthouse to provide shade for those attending court.

A cedar of Lebanon (Cedrus libani) planted by Bendix Hallenstein at his Speargrass Flat estate, Thurlby Domain, in the 1870s was recognised in the register as the tallest of its species anywhere in New Zealand, while a sequoia in Highview Tce on Queenstown Hill was recognised as the largest exotic conifer in New Zealand.

The tree - also known as a giant redwood or wellingtonia - was thought to have been planted in about 1870 and is 45.4m high.