Tree planting in pursuit of stability

Pictured after the floods, a landslip cut access to Cecille Wesley’s home, blocking off...
Pictured after the floods, a landslip cut access to Cecille Wesley’s home, blocking off Pipikaretu Rd. Photo: Gerard O'Brien
A longtime Otago Peninsula resident who left her home for nearly a month after landslips took out the road below her property was relieved to return to her home of 61 years.

A landslip careered down the hill near Cecille Wesley’s home, blocking off Pipikaretu Rd. While there was no damage to Mrs Wesley’s home, her daughter Moana said there were concerns about the house being cut off because of the slippage.

Cecille Wesley
Cecille Wesley
The engineer inspecting the property shortly after the landslip said if it were his mother, he would advise her to stay away a bit longer.

"So we did," Mrs Wesley said.

In total, she had stayed away for about three and a-half weeks, she said. Mrs Wesley, who is in her 80s, said she had been planting more trees  to prevent future landslip damage.

"There’s not a great deal else we can do," she said.

She had planted about 25 seedlings up behind her house since the disaster, and the work was ongoing. Moana Wesley said the family had had a tree-planting programme at Mrs Wesley’s house for decades.

"We want to cover that whole area that’s moving. We’ve been planting to stabilise and planting for shelter and shade," she said.

Mrs Wesley said if  there was another  downpour like the one that struck the area in July, she would be watching the ground very carefully.

The area was "all volcanic rock", she said.

"[When it rains] it just goes and takes whatever else is on top of that rock with it." 

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