The mystery of the tree cone

The cone at the top of a Norfolk Pine in Mount Maunganui. Video and photos by Rosalie Liddle Crawford.

Click the image above to watch the video

How did the cone make its way up the Norfolk Pine?

It may sound like an opening line to a joke, but it's a genuine question some people are asking themselves in Mount Maunganui this week.

Rosalie Liddle Crawford joined The Breeze breakfast hosts Mark Eagle and Jolene James in investigating the mystery of how an orange traffic cone come to be on top of a Norfolk Pine Tree in Mount Maunganui yesterday.

“One of the roadside traffic cones has found its way from the roadworks in Adams Ave up to the top of a nearby Norfolk pine tree,” says Rosalie.

“One passer-by says it's been there since Sunday. Local cafe owners were unaware of its existence and are puzzled as to how it was placed there.”

Jolene and Mark from The Breeze radio station investigating the cone mystery.

The cone is sitting in a branch near the top of the Norfolk Pine opposite the eighth level of the northern tower of Oceanside Resort & Towers.

“Staff wondered if paragliders had managed to place it there while flying off Mauao. 

“Mount Maunganui Beachside Holiday Park staff were also unaware of the cone.”

The first branch above ground is a high reach of over three metres requiring a nimble climber or two or more people helping each other. 

It's a mystery, says Rosalie.

Can you see the cone?


Seriously though

Posted on 17-08-2017 18:46 | By Papamoaner

Easy to see why the cone isn't at the top. Those trees are gummy and would have been very bendy at the top, especially when pissed out of one's brain with only one free hand to climb with.


Posted on 17-08-2017 16:04 | By Papamoaner

You're onto it! The rising sun stuffed it up. Best we can hope for now is a bright spark like the one that started it all.

My guess Caveman...

Posted on 17-08-2017 15:03 | By GreertonBoy

would be it was someone lifted it with a drone and was trying to put it on top of the tree, but dropped it... it is much easier with witches hats than that sort of traffic marker... the witches hats fit perfectly on trees, flag poles, aerials .... it is like they are made for being placed on things by drones... Good effort tho... Maybe, with all of the cars hitting trees lately, someone was trying to do a community service and show motorists where the tree is... maybe marking where a car is likely to hit it...

nothing quiet as satisying

Posted on 17-08-2017 13:37 | By Mein Fuhrer

as sitting up a tree and having a cone


Posted on 17-08-2017 11:42 | By dumbkof2

Papamoaner. Thank you so much for enlightning me on how these cones climb trees. Seems like they only do this under cover of darkness. Beaten by the rising sun this time. Just goes to show you can learn something new every day


Posted on 17-08-2017 10:02 | By Capt_Kaveman

chop the ugly things down

This is perfectly natural

Posted on 17-08-2017 09:25 | By Papamoaner

Cones are known to have millions of hollow cells that fill up with Helium gas during times of exceptionally large temperature gradient across individual cells. Then when the sun sets in calm weather, the cone detaches itself from the tree and drifts upwards, knocking against other branches during the ascent. Eventually it reattaches itself to the top of the tree by ejecting a small squirt of sticky gum through a capillary port at the stem of the cone. Once that process is complete, the helium gas is released into the atmosphere making a kind of farting sound. Scientists have discovered high concentrations of helium gas above Norfolk Island as a result of this phenomenon. If you stand under a Norfolk Island pine on a calm evening, you can actually hear the cones bumping against branches as they float upwards, followed by muffled farting noises.


Posted on 17-08-2017 09:22 | By The Caveman

The job was not done OK. The cone needs to be right on the TOP, not just near the top !!

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