5 gorgeous New Zealand native trees
New Zealand is world famous for its lush landscapes, and even has a tag line as a country of ‘100% Pure’.
Amongst the many imported trees, New Zealand has a large number of stunning native trees, many of which you will learn about on Auckland day tours.
The magnificent kauri tree is one of the largest and longest-living in the world, and only grows around the Auckland area, Coromandel Peninsula and in Northland.
A kauri tree will grow to an average 30-40 metres in height and more than a metre across. Tane Mahuta, New Zealand’s largest known living kauri, is 51 metres tall.
Before people arrived, kauri trees covered more than 1.2 million hectares, but many were cut down for use as building material for boats and houses.
The pohutukawa is an iconic New Zealand tree with its cheerful red blossoms, and is dotted all over the North Island with a smattering in the South. As they bloom with the arrival of summer and the kiwi Christmas holiday season, these trees have the nickname of the ‘New Zealand Christmas tree’.
Preferring to grow along coastlines and in coastal forests, the pohutukawa are hardy trees that grow to approximately 20-25 metres in height, and can live for more than 1,000 years.
Rimu is a member of New Zealand’s conifer family, and is both the most common and widespread in the country, growing from the bottom of the South Island to the top of the North.
The rimu can live for more than 1,000 years, but most commonly lives to 550-600 years, as they are susceptible to toppling over in strong winds.
During their youth, lancewoods have long, spiky leaves that give this native plant its name. Once the trees reach maturity, however, they look quite different, leading early botanists to believe they were completely different species.
An adult lancewood will grow to approximately 15 metres, and the deep purple-black fruit that comes from this tree are a favourite meal for birds such as tui, kereru (wood pigeon) and whiteheads.
Kowhai is the Maori word for yellow, so it’s not surprising that this sunny-flowered native bush has borrowed the name. It is widely regarded as New Zealand’s national flower, and can be found all over the country from coastline to mountain terrain.
New Zealand birds are just as big of a fan of the kowhai tree as New Zealanders themselves, as both the tui and wood pigeon enjoy the kowhai nectar.
Tristan Cullen - Passionate Conservationist