Pine Tree Hill has a reputation as one of the most challenging trails in Fraser’s Hill. It will work your cardio like no treadmill ever could, and you’ll get to see a stunning view of the Titiwangsa Range from 4000ft up. But be careful – there are lots of loose rocks and uneven ground to slip on, and the tree line is a treacherous place for hikers to be in.
The lone pine tree on the top of Maungakiekie (also known as One Tree Hill) has a story behind it. During the 19th century, Maungakiekie was a site of conflict between the indigenous people and the Pakeha (European) settlers. It was also a sacred place for Maori, so it was an important decision to plant a single pine tree on the summit of Maungakiekie and call it ‘One Tree Hill’. This tree, a Monterey pine, was planted in 1850.
In 1994, a chainsaw attack on the pine tree atop Maungakiekie sparked controversy because many believed it was an act of vandalism. However, it was actually an act of protest informed by centuries of history – the Maori felt that the pine tree, as a non-native plant, was inappropriate for a place of such significance to them. The tree was cut down two years later, and it hasn’t been replaced since.
While the pine tree on the summit of Maungakiekie is iconic, there are plenty more to be found in the forest below. There are some amazing walks around the area that take you through lush, green jungles, or to stunning vistas looking out over the surrounding cityscape. Some of these walk are a little more strenuous, and so be prepared to bring water, food, and good footwear (don’t wear those open trek sandals unless you want to whack your toes on hidden jagged branches).
Pine trees are incredibly versatile, growing in an enormous variety of climates across the world. They grow in all sorts of soils, from sandy to clay, and they can survive in a wide variety of temperatures. They’re the most common tree in the Northern temperate zone, extending from the Tropic of Cancer to the Arctic Circle.
The pine tree on the crest of Pine Tree Hill has been a symbol for the community since its establishment. It was used in the design of the Camden County School District’s logo, and was featured on the first flags flown by American colonists during the Revolutionary War. The pine tree was also featured on the Declaration of Independence, and is a symbol of the American spirit.pinetree hill