Some of the Lombardy poplars along Lake Esplanade which an
arborist has recommended the council replace with more
robust and longer living trees. Photo by Christina
While in New Zealand, German tourist Paul Zeller had his
car crushed by a 120-year-old Lombardy poplar and now
arrangements have been made for him to plant native trees, some
of which could live for 1000 years.
Mr Zeller (18) was enjoying a reunion in Queenstown with
friends he had worked with in Blenheim when severe winds
blew down the tree on Lake Esplanade where his car was
He and travelling partner Nico Reiner, also 18 and from
Germany, discovered the written-off car the next morning,
January 18, and found their third-party insurance did not
cover such incidents.
A week after the tree fell, the Otago Daily Times
reported the two men had approached the Queenstown Lakes
District Council with a plea for the council to pay the car's
value of $1400.
The men said they were told by a council representative it
was not the council's responsibility.
After their story appeared in the ODT, a travel
specialist based in the Netherlands offered to give the men
Andrew Morten, of TravelEssence, a New Zealand travel
specialist with offices in Germany, the Netherlands and
Wellington, sent $1400, which Mr Zeller received last week.
In an email to the ODT, Mr Morten said the company had
also ''made arrangements for him [Mr Zeller] to enjoy a
guided walk and share in the local legends of the Urewera
Rainforest with Te Urewera Treks''.
''Here he will get to plant nine native trees, three of which
will live for 1000 years. That seems rather fitting.''
Mr Reiner was planning to return to Germany at the end of the
month and the pair had decided not to buy another car
Seven cars were damaged when the poplar fell, as was a
section of the Lakeside Motel's roof and balcony, and traffic
was stopped for two hours.
An arborist determined the tree was affected by white rot and
in a report to the council recommended four of the 21
Lombardy poplars in St Omer Park be removed and that there be
a staged removal of the rest.