Far North in the South Pacific

Botany Walks on New Zealand's North Island

Before heading back to Auckland, my trip concluded with a visit to Opononi on the west coast to pay my respects to Tane Mahuta, or Lord of the Forest, and Te Matua Ngahere, or Father of the Forest—the largest, oldest, and most sacred trees in New Zealand. Footprints Waipoua Tours leads Maori-guided night hikes into old-growth kauri groves to see these two 80-feet-tall, 20-feet-wide trees. A species of subtropical hardwood perfect for building canoes, kauri trees can grow for thousands of years and are revered by the Maori. It poured rain that last night, and it was haunting and beautiful to stand in the rain shadow of the sequoia-like trees and listen to our guides sing songs of blessing. I'll keep my fingers crossed that I got enough blessings that night to end up back here someday.

Contact: Footprints Waipoua, Opononi
Where to Stay: Opononi Resort Hotel

Published: 4 Feb 2009 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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