Police release name of Rotorua woman who died from falling tree

By Jessica Tyson

Tributes are flowing for the woman who died after a tree fell on her car during severe weather in Rotorua last Wednesday.

Police identified her today as 56-year-old Trisha Butterworth of Rotorua.

Butterworth was described as a “beautiful, kind and sweet girl” by Facebook user Sally McDonald.

“She was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time.  I miss you Trish, and thank you for being such an amazing and loving friend,” she wrote.

Dean Smith also described Trisha as “one really awesome lady who always had time for others, especially children and seniors.

“She was a soldier where she wouldn't let some things stop her from doing what had to be done.”

Rotorua's mayor Steve Chadwick has issued her condolences “to the family that lost their loved one” when the 150-year-old Oak tree fell on Amohia St in the storm that swept the country.

falling tree

The 150-year-old Oak tree fell on Amohia St in the storm that swept the country last Wednesday. 

Tree Specialist Tom Rika says he expressed concerns about the tree concerned two months ago.

“We drive past it every day so we just notice because of what we do every day that the bracings that were installed many years ago looked to us like they were starting to fail.”

In a statement, Rotorua Lakes Councils Acting Chief Executive officer, Craig Tiriana says, "Following concerns from a local tree specialist in recent months about bracing in the tree, another inspection was done by the Council's regular contractor.  In late September/early October, bracing was replaced and some branch reduction was also undertaken.”

But Mr Rika says the tree continued to cause him concern.

“I knew it was only a matter of time. I've driven past since it fell and it's certainly rotten.”

Police continue to make enquiries on behalf of the coroner.