Gifting a Pohutukawa Tree: NZ’s Popular Native Tree

The NZ native Pohutukawa tree is a firm favourite with the Tree Gifts team. Bright, bold, and beautiful, this native tree makes a great gift for someone special, as well as yourself! With crimson red flowers appearing around Christmas time, glossy green leaves, and a highly textured trunk, it looks magnificent wherever it has been planted.

When gifting native trees, many people like to select a tree which has a special meaning or certain characteristics. Is a Pohutukawa tree the right choice for you?

NZ Native Pohutukawa Tree: It’s Symbolisms & Characteristics 

From the genus Metrosideros, the mighty Pohutukawa has two distinct types which originated in NZ: the mainland and the Kermadec. Often mistaken as a rata tree because of their close similarities, the Pohutukawa is traditionally found in coastal areas from Taranaki up to Northland. Nowadays it can be found throughout the country, through it prefers a warmer coastal environment.

Holding a special place in Māori mythology, the word Pohutukawa can be roughly translated as ‘splashed by the spray.’ Legends tell the tale of Tawhaki, a young warrior who sought help from heaven to avenge his father’s death. Unsuccessful in his journey, Tawhaki fell to earth and the red flowers are said to be representative of his blood.

In Cape Reinga, there is a very sacred Pohutukawa tree on a rocky outcrop which extends out over the ocean. It is here that Māori mythology says the spirits of the dead leave New Zealand and return to the ancestral homeland of Hawaiki via descending down the roots, underneath the sea and into the underworld.

Able to live up to 1000 years, the Pohutukawa is more than a pretty face. It is said Queen Elizabeth orders the pale sweet honey made from the nectar of the Pohutukawa each year. Then with a powerful root system designed by nature to help stabilise it in sandy ground, it is ideal for planting in areas such as near cliff edges or inside large gardens where it can provide shelter and erosion control. The strong roots can cause damage to sewer lines, pipes, foundations, and footpaths when planted close by, making it is best suited to wide open areas without any manmade structures.

We’d love to help you with the gifting a Pohutukawa tree. Ideal for giving to someone special on Valentine’s Day, as a birthday present or a memorial tree, we can send it to the recipient on your behalf beautifully packaged and with a gift card too!

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