|Pohutukawa - Metrosideros excelsa|
Flowering Pohutukawa Photo CRB 2010
The Coromandel Peninsula of New Zealand has become particularly well known for blaze of crimson colour of Pohutukawa along its rocky coastline and sandy beaches.
|Pohutukawa in Flower - photo CRB 2002|
|Flowering Pohutukawa on hillside Pauanui Photo CRB 2013|
In these he portrayed the trees and birds of the Coromandel Bush he loved. Along with a conservation message on the need to preserve and protect before it becomes a "lost heritage." Today in 2013 we have " Project Crimson" - a Pohutukawa restoration project that is helping to restore this tree along the coast. In areas such as Otahu where once fire ravaged these trees.
|Flowering Pohutukawa Photo CRB 2013|
In parts Pohutukawa clings tenaciously to the rocks and cliffs, gnarled branches providing homes for seabirds and tiny insects.
Gathering Pohutukawa for Christmas decorations was not always straightforward it would seem. An account read in the Thames Advertiser reported a gathering expedition by three boys ending up with one spending the night in the bush without food - fortunately found the next day by neighbours Joseph Tredennick and James Dunn.
|Pohutukawa in Flower on Reserve at Thames - Photo CRB December 2014|
" A little fellow named Walter Sully lost himself in the bush at the head of the Hape Creek on Monday last, and was not found until the following day, when a search party went out to look for him. It appears that Sully and two other youths, named Alfred Billings and James Naughton, went out on Monday morning to gather pohutukawa and nikau for Christmas decorations, and Sully wandered away into the dense bush up the Hape Creek, and became lost to his companions. They were not alarmed at the time, thinking he would turn up later in the day."
This part of the past was goldmining in the Hape Area of what is now known as Thames.
Shipbuilding with Pohutukawa
Puketui Valley in 2010 - still mainly reliant on tracks across the range = photo CRB
( Campbell, J.L.,1881 P. )
Gnarled Trunk of Pohutukawa photo CRB 2013
|Top Sail Cutter, Clio Family photo|
Looking at photos taken of Pohutukawa along the harbours edge in 2012, it is no wonder A Pick, the author, wrote glowingly in the 1902 article.
|Whangamata Harbour Shoreline photo CRB 2012|
Pohutukawa continued to be written about - the tree's symbol of christmas, poets and song writers "waxing" on the beauty of this tree. Pohutukawa is a memory of watering trees planted near the reserve by the boat club at Whangamata, so people would have a place to picnic in later years.(Thank you to the three people who organised the planting of ) It is the memory of holding on to one Pohutukawa in a storm, on the South Beach Whangamata so it would stay to provide shelter for future generations. It survived and so did the other one - typical of this tree's tenacity.
Bushmen valued the properties of the inner layers of bark as a remedy for dysentery. (some bush camps on the Coromandel Peninsula of the 1800s and early 1900s were not within proximity to doctors and chemists )
|Pohutukawa, Mayor Island photo from G Macgregor & D Ball 2013|
- Campbell, John Logan. Poenamu. London: Williams and Norgate, 1881.Also can be read online ENZB Early New Zealand Books http://www.enzb.auckland.ac.nz
- Ingram, Chas.W.N. and Wheatley, P Owen. Shipwrecks New Zealand Disasters 1795 - 1936. Dunedin: Dunedin Book Publishing Association, 1936.
- Kirk, T. F.L.S. The Forest Flora of New Zealand. Wellington: Government Printers, 1889.
- Newspapers Thames Advertiser, Daily Southern Cross, New Zealand Illustrated Magazine -Papers Past, National Library New Zealand http://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz