Queenstown Lakes District Council says legal action may be taken after a power lines company felled a 50-year-old willow tree on council land.
Parks manager Gordon Bailey says a resident living in Willow Place had made two applications to the council to have the tree removed, but both were turned down.
When contractors for Delta Utilities were in the street clearing powerlines, the resident asked them to cut down the tree.
The company did not realise it was on a council reserve.
Mr Bailey says the company has apologised for not checking with the council.