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Coastal Trees

Remnant & regenerating species growing on Te Matuku Point
NikauRhopalostylis sapida

"NZ's only native palm species, the nikauNikau a very distinctive component of the coastal broadleaf sub-canopy and it's berries are a favoured food of the kereru. The nikau is very slow-growing. Research conducted in lowland forests near Auckland found it takes 40-50 years to begin to form a trunk and about 200 years to reach 10 metres tall. On average two fronds are shed per year leaving behind a leaf scar on the trunk which can be used to give a rough indication of age since the trunk began forming."

- Department of Conservation -

PuririVitex lucens

"PuririPuriri is one of the few forest trees that has colourful flowers. It mostly flowers during winter and ripens its cherry-like fruit in summer, but it usually has a few flowers and ripe fruit all year round... Puriri mothPhoto by Tony Wills: Wikimedia Commons, NZ's largest native moth, spends up to 7 years as a grub in its puriri trunk burrow then emerges as an adult, lays eggs & dies, all within 48 hours."

- 'Trees of Fertile Lowlands', Encyclopedia of New Zealand -

KohekoheDysoxylum spectabile

"Like a number of tropical trees, kohekohe flowers directly from its trunk and branches, a feature known as cauliflory. It produces clusters of nectar-filled cream flowersPhoto by Kahuroa: Wikimedia Commons in autumn and early winter. Later, bunches of grape-sized fruits hang from the trunk."

- 'Tall Broadleaf Trees', Encyclopedia of New Zealand -

19th Century Timber

"Taraire was cut from Omaru Bay block into 3ft billets for haulage by horse sled and, it was said, destined for bakery ovens in Auckland. In nearby Te Matuku Bay he also cut pohutukawa blocks which were squared for size for Calliope DockDevonport drydock, built in 1888. The solid heavy blocks were estimated to measure about 6ft by 2ft by 18in... A resourceful bush carpenter made use of available trees, trimming them to shape if no sawn timber was available. His work can be seen in several early cottages where he used trimmed tea-tree in place of small beams."

- Excerpt from 'Waiheke Pioneers'Waiheke Pioneers by Dixie Day -

TaraireBeilschmiedia taraire

"The recent dry spell is one of the worst we have had in many years with no rain for several months and none forecast in the next several weeks. One species of tree that is hit hard during droughts is the taraireDrought damage, which has a relatively shallow root system. Taraire are a vital part of our ecology on Waiheke, providing shelter and food for our kereru (wood pigeon). The HGCT has been busy organising for Taraire trees to be supplied with water on both public and private land thanks to a generous anonymous donation of $2,000 from a concerned local resident."

- Hauraki Gulf Conservation Trust - 26/04/10 -

PohutukawaMetrosideros excelsa

"Waiheke Island is possum-free, so pohutukawaPohutukawa have always flourished - they inhabit the main beaches and can be found almost anywhere on the island. The more populated northern and eastern coasts have fewer old stands remaining, whereas the southern and western coasts are more densely clad with bush featuring majestic pohutukawa. They are very much an important aspect of island life and part of the accepted heritage - there is a both a bay and a waterside avenue aptly named after the species."

- Excerpt from Crimson Trail brochure -

KauriAgathis australis

"A track led up the valley from Te Matuku to Man O' War Bay down which 20-bullock wagons hauled logs to the head of Te Matuku Bay. There was at least one kauri dam on Waiheke, a small one just north of (now) Goodwin Reserve. When released, the logs spread out over Day's Flat from where they were hauled by bullock to Rakewau stream and floated into Te Matuku Bay. To form a raft, a toggle went through a slanting hole in the end of the logs, which were then fastened together and towed by steamer to Auckland."

- Excerpt from 'Waiheke Pioneers'Waiheke Pioneers by Dixie Day -

KarakaCorynocarpus laevigatus

"The karaka berryPhoto by Kahuroa: Wikimedia Commons provided a staple source of food for Maori when the trees were fruiting - February to March. When ripe the fragrant berry has a very distinctive and pleasant aroma. The kernel must be carefully prepared before it is eaten. In fact it is VERY POISONOUS if it is not prepared properly and can cause serious convulsions. Our grandparents prepared these kernels for special occasions such as the poukai. The taste of the kernel is unique and has a pasty texture."

- 'Traditional Food', Aotea Harbour -

Tea TreeLeptospermum scoparium & Kunzea ericoides

"Both manuka & kanuka colonise bare ground but in harsh conditions secondary growth species sometimes don't flourish thus making tea tree the climaxKanuka forest canopy. You can tell the difference between them by their leaves & flowers - kanuka leaves are much softer to touch and the small white kanuka flowers grow in clusters, not singly like manuka. Unaffected by the manuka blight, kanuka bark does not have a "sooty" look."

- Trees for Survival Trust -

TanekahaPhyllocladus trichomanoides

Tanekaha can be found growing in similar habitats to kauri: their distinctive flattened leaves (actually modified shoots) encouraged the alternative common name of Celery Pine. Part of the 19th century "bush economy", axemen stripped tanekaha bark for use in the tanning trade while the straight knot-free timber was valued for specialist uses.