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

Tane Mahuta: lord of the forest

View the map


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.

Be the first to comment on this page. You cannot post comments until you have logged in. Please log in or register if you don't have an account.

More stories like this

Find out more

Things to do > Out and about

Hokianga: a road trip around a heavenly harbour

Storyteller and happy traveller John McCrystal discovers that the most rewarding direction in which to approach the Hokianga is from the south along State Highway 12, which also happens to be the leg of the Twin Coast Discovery Highway route that features the great Waipoua and the Trounson kauri forests.

Find out more

Things to do

Hokianga: harbouring history

Though sparsely populated now, the Hokianga, stretching northeastwards towards the Bay of Islands on the opposite coast, has one of the longest histories of human habitation of anywhere in New Zealand.

Find out more

Things to do > Out and about

Tane Mahuta Walk

Visit the famous Tane Mahuta, Lord of the Forest – New Zealand's largest known living kauri tree, located in the Waipoua Forest.

Find out more

Things to do > Out and about

Four Sisters Walk

Walk through kauri and rimu in beautiful native forest to four tall kauri trees growing extremely close together – the famous four sisters. 

Where to stay in Hokianga District

Show me all Places to stay

9 /10
From $105
Opononi Lighthouse Motel

Opposite Opononi beach overlooking the giant sand dunes of the Hokianga Harbour. Sea and/or garden views. S/c 1 & 2brm units with kitchen/dining f...

Book now

From $100
Mid North Motor Inn

We are a family run accommodation site situated roughly half-way between both east and west coasts. We provide x3 studio units with a queen and x2 ...

Book now

9 /10
From $36
Rawene Holiday Park

Located in the picturesque township of Rawene 1 km from Ferry Station. Situated on a hilltop, sheltered by tranquil native bush with stunning views...

Book now

Copthorne Hotel & Resort Hokianga

Copthorne Hotel & Resort Bay of Islands commands a superb waterfront location in the heart of the Bay of Islands, offering uninterrupted bay views ...

Book now