The Pohutukawa

In the lead up to Christmas I want to introduce you to the Pohutukawa – the New Zealand Christmas tree. Pohutukawa is a Maori word which means “drenched in mist”. As one of the best known and most visible native trees, pohutukawa are found growing around the coastline of the upper North Island of New Zealand. They are comfortable in rugged windswept beaches, in sand and seaspray, and have a remarkable ability to cling to steep cliffs and hillsides, often seen growing in seemingly impossible locations.

The first Europeans to New Zealand named the pohutukawa ‘the New Zealand Christmas tree’ due to their brilliant bright red flowers that bloom from November to January. For generations of kiwis, the flowering pohutukawa has become one of the great icons of summer and the Christmas holiday season. The tree often features in art and literature, in poetry and songs, on photos and greeting cards and has become an important symbol for New Zealanders both at home and overseas.

Bright and colourful, the pohutukawa is cheerful and instantly recognised (by kiwis at least!) Β It is also a wonderful example rugged determination – the ability to grow in harsh situations where others would struggle. But not only does it survive in places of adversity, it thrives!

A picture of both beauty and determination in one (Christmas) package.

pohu2

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16 thoughts on “The Pohutukawa

  1. This is true and the native word for our wood pigeon is Kereru, which is why I called you that on another comment. I am Kiwi and the Pohutukawa is a beautiful tree. My sleeve tattoo is incorporating the Pohutukawa leaves and flowers into it. Thank you. A lovely post to read. Jx

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    1. I love the Kereru – they are so beautiful. I get a huge amount of pleasure seeing both tuis and kereru in my garden. We have planted many natives to attract the birds. I guess I should write about the kereru one day! Thank you for your comment. Enjoyed writing this post and loved the photos to accompany it.

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  2. Now this is the NZ Christmas tree especially of the north. For me being a coaster it is also the Rata when it blooms on Arthurs Pass and along the coast. Thank you for this. I am so looking forward to getting home for Christmas!

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    1. I wondered if I should have mentioned the rata as well – fair comment. Might have to write about the rata one day – yet another example of beauty meats determination. Appreciate the feedback 😊

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      1. Your beautiful pictures are of the Phoutakawa and it is a beautiful post about it. I only mention the Rata because every year at Christmas I usually head over the mountains to the West Coast and if it is a good season we ooh and ahh at the Rata. memories of my nan flood back as she would always exclaim “ohhh isn’t the rata lovely!” It became a bit of a catch cry as we drove over each year.

        Liked by 1 person

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