The big leaning pohutukawa on the beachfront at Red Beach is one tree which has to be measured by its length rather than by its height. If it hadn’t been for a stiff south easterly one January day in 1918, the old tree would be much taller today.
A man who lived at Red Beach probably longer than anyone else, the late Mr Stan Bayes, remembered the day the tree went over.
He and his older brother, Arthur, had been down at the beach watching Auckland holiday makers working on their boats.
They left the beach just five minutes before the tree went over.
The Bayes family owned a farmhouse, which is still standing, and tended most of the land which is now in the Red Beach suburb.
When the boys returned to the beach from the house they were amazed to see the tree nearly on its side. The pohutukawa was then nearly 30 years old and it did not occur to anyone that it should be removed. Just as well.
Gradually over the years the tree, still bound by its roots to the bank, appeared to right itself by continuing to grow upward.
Stan Bayes regarded the tree as a great landmark and a really important part of the beachfront scene.