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The mighty Kauri tree

Kauri trees are the largest and the most protected plant species in New Zealand. Besides being unique plants only found in the North Island of New Zealand, they are sacred to the indigenous Maori people. Maoris thought of Kauri trees as the kings of the forest and believed that “the ancestor of the Kauri tree created life”.


My Maori friend, named Tone, once took me to a Kauri forest. He talked about Kauri trees in a very special way, always emphasizing the strong Maori connection with nature. Apparently, some of the Kauri forests are now considered as part of the Maori nature reserve and can only be accessed by Maori people.

When I first saw the Kauri tree I was stunned by its massive naked trunk going all the way and passing the tops of other trees in the forest. Its branches did not start until the very top and they were as thick as the lower parts of the trunks of other trees. Once I got to a more open space I got to finally see the whole mighty Kauri tree. A powerful feeling went through my skin. I suddenly realized what my Maori friend meant when talking about the “Kings of the forest”.

1 Comment so far

  1. It is intriguing that the Kauri is a venerated tree amomg the Maori. The theme of tree veneration in indigenous religions is a major research interest of mine. I can imagine they saw the Kauri as kings and lords. They are evidently the Gods of the forest. I do not know yet that there are some areas with Kauri trees where access is restricted to Maori people. Thank you for this informative article.

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