Tree maintenance

As a school board, you must maintain trees so they don’t become a hazard to students or to neighbours. Some trees are protected and you should talk to your local council before trimming or removing them.

Level of complianceMain audienceOther


  • Boards
  • Principals and Tumuaki
  • Proprietors
  • Property Manager
  • Whānau/Family
  • Parents/Caregivers
  • Local Authority
  • Power Supply Operators

Schools must maintain trees on their property so they do not become a hazard to students or staff. Some trees are protected, and will require contacting your local council before trimming or removing them. Payment for maintenance should come from your Property Maintenance Grant. 


Trees need to be regularly trimmed. If they get too big, they become costly to maintain and difficult to remove.

Large trees can also be a hazard in high winds and can block light and affect neighbours.

Trees around swimming pools

Trees can also be a health and safety hazard around a swimming pool.

Remove trees close to the swimming pool to:

  • prevent leaves and branches falling in and contaminating the water, and
  • prevent people trying to jump from the tree into the pool.

Protected trees

Check if a tree is protected

Some trees are protected such as:

  • naturally established native trees
  • trees with historical, cultural or botanical value
  • trees protected on the certificate of title, which might need a resource consent to do anything to them.

Some councils have general rules around removing trees, so contact your local council or Heritage New Zealand to find out if any trees at the school are protected. (See: Heritage New Zealand website(external link))

Work with protected trees

If your school has a protected tree you may need resource consent for activities near it such as:

  • excavating or digging
  • depositing material close to the tree
  • construction work
  • putting in pipes or power lines
  • storing things under the tree.

Although resource consent is probably not needed for maintenance, such as trimming or removing dead branches, it is best to check first.

If a protected tree needs emergency work to deal with a hazard to people or buildings, such as a damaged branch that may fall, you can contact your local council for advice.

Pay for maintaining or removing trees

The Property Maintenance Grant (PMG) covers:

  • general maintenance work on trees (such as trimming and removing dead branches)
  • removal of a protected tree (with council consent)

The 5 Year Agreement (5YA) funding cannot be used for maintenance. It is only for capital improvements to buildings and other school facilities.


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