New Zealand Trees

The Reckoning with New Zealand's Trees


Whilst snapping photos on various walks and on diverse paths on our peregrination through parts of New Zealand I was dimly aware that one day would bring a reckoning. To render sensible my dilatoriousness with the photographic apparatus I would need to sit down and make sense of the plants to which I had been so keenly drawn. Little did I know the time and effort this exercise long-delayed by our travels and the easier fruit of recollection would require.


But that day did arrive and I have devoted many hours, days and weeks even to a process not only of identification but also of self-elucidation (if one can) and contextualisation. Would that I could sustain this effort for my own native - so to speak - flora for it would surely be of greater long-term value than my immersion in a flora and biota the like of which I may never experience again. But so be it.


I experienced this same need to understand when confronted by the fabulous coastal and mountain fynbos of the Western Cape in South Africa. In both this and the New Zealand case the exotic strangeness of the biota exerts a strong pull but I think my attraction and need to understand is more than this.


There is something about the intimacy and microcosmic scale of the New Zealand coastal and montane rainforest and the South African fynbos that is like the garrigue/maquis vegetation of the eastern Mediterranean. It is abundant and intriguing without being overwhelming and while bordering on the familiar it surprises and undermines that sense of smug knowingness that the metropolitan traveller carries still in his or her backpack.

These pages begin that process of discovery. So far there are pages on:


  • Podocarps
  • Beeches
  • Rata and Kamahi
  • New Zealand Tree Ferns
  • Other Rainforest Hardwoods
  • Rainforest Hardwood Shrubs


More will be added hopefully.