Tane Mahuta, New Zealand's largest known living kauri tree © NAZABB Photography

Tane Mahuta: lord of the forest


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Really? All this fuss about a kauri tree?

You may well say that, especially if you’re a, you know, millennial. (Kidding.) But you wait until you’re standing ’neath the sacred branches of this giant and you’ll be thinking, and feeling, very differently. If you already get what it’s like, we’re preaching to the converted. So we’ll move on. Down the track, Jack, to Tane Mahuta, a walk of a mere five minutes’ duration, so we’re not asking a lot here.

Not when you get to stand at the feet of a giant: Tane, Lord of the Forest. Waipoua Forest. It’s staggering, really.

If you’re feeling your age after a few holiday treks, try being 1200 years old, the ‘youngest’ estimate of the age of this tree. This magnificent being may be up to 2500 years old which is, you know, really getting on, even in tree years.

And while we are not always that keen on stats — and you’re on holiday, after all — with something this humungous, to use a standard arborist’s term, you want to be able to, scale it (though obviously not in a climbing sense). So here goes:

Trunk girth 13.77m

Trunk height 17.68m

Total height 51.5m

Conclusion: it’s big, baby. And still growing. Seriously, this is where we get to properly use the term ‘awesome’. And while Tane is mightily impressive, he’s got a ‘wee’ bro. The nearby ‘Father of the Forest’, Te Matua Ngahere, is just under 30m tall, with a girth of 16m — still a very impressive sight.

The ‘Four Sisters’ nearby are wondrous too, a cluster of greatness growing skyward.

The whole experience is one that inspires awe and wonder, ensuring you’ll get back in your ride a little changed from when you went in. And isn’t that the point of all this seeing of the sights? Thought so.


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