Stop hugging them and start singing

Tree-lovers are turning their backs on hugs in favour of singing. A choir will serenade disease-ravaged kauri in the hope the stricken giants of the forest will respond to human sound.

Auckland composer Phil Dadson has been commissioned to create a work highlighting the destructive kauri dieback at next month’s Auckland Arts Festival. He has recruited 20 tree-lovers with a musical ear to form a choir and is composing a “conversation with nature”.

Many in the project are hoping their efforts will add to the fight against dieback, a fungus-like disease that damages the tree’s roots, reducing the amount of nutrients carried to the tree.

Kauri have no natural resistance and there is no known treatment.

The obvious answer is to sing them a song.?

Kauri Project curator and chorister Ariane Craig-Smith said the performance offered the potential to speak to the forest.

“The process of people singing together is very powerful. There’s a kind of magic that happens.

“There’s a slightly romantic sense that we can speak to the trees, somehow.

“We don’t know what impact the vibrations might have.”

She said for the past 150 years, kauri had played an important role in the nation’s economic, political and social history. It was now time for people to consider how they valued the tree and what they could do to help preserve it.

Taking my tongue firmly out of my cheek for the moment, they are singing to the Kauri because they don’t know if it may help. ?But at the same time, they don’t know it won’t hurt either. ?Perhaps it will be better to just put money into research instead and not worry about all the CO2 amd CO spewing from vehicles on the way there and back; people trampling the forest floor, and generally creating a footprint that wouldn’t have been there if the ‘harmless’ singing hadn’t been done.


– Herald on Sunday