The NZNTT is actively seeking updated information for all trees in the register. If you have information about this tree that we don't currently have recorded, or wish to advise of an inaccuracy please use our information submission form to help us build a complete profile of this tree.

Tree Information x

Identifier: TR/1399
Tree Type: Single
Registered By: Smillie, M.J.
Registration Category: Notable tree – National interest
General Notes:
Taranaki Cathedral Church of St Mary is New Zealand's oldest stone church. Starting out as a small stone building in 1846, with additions over the years, the churchyard contains a mixture of native and introduced ornamental plantings, dating from the late 19th century.

The largest tree is an impressive Spanish chestnut, between the church buildings and the foot of the adjacent Marsland Hill, the site of a British Army barracks from 1856 until 1870. During that time, the churchyard was used as a bullock pen, and as a magazine during the Taranaki Land Wars of the 1860's. It is likely that the tree, and others around it, were planted after that time. Photographs of the churchyard from the early 20th century show the churchyard plantings, including this tree, well established at that time.

Burstall did not make note of this tree in his 1973 report, preferring three other trees of the species from around the region, and the magnificent chestnut at nearby Brooklands Park. That tree, described by Burstall as one of the outstanding exotics in the country and known for its immense spread (almost 43 m), died in 1977. In comparison, the tree at St Mary's is now significantly larger in diameter, but still smaller in average spread.

Smillie 2017.

Taranaki Cathedral Grounds, accessed 2017
Pukeariki - Marsland Hill, accessed 2017
Overlooking New Plymouth, 1915, Alexander Turnbull Library, accessed 2017
S.W. Burstall, New Zealand Forest Service, Forest Research Institute, Forest Mensuration Report No. 19, 1973 (unpublished)
Giant Sweet Chestnut Tree - Kete Pukekura Park, accessed 2017

Single Tree Details

Genus: Castanea
Species: sativa
Common names: sweet chestnut, Spanish chestnut
Height: 15.20m
Height measurement method: Laser Nikon Forestry 550
Height Comments: (none)
Girth: 835 cm
Girth measurement height: 0.6 m
Girth Comments: Measured at narrowest point, below low branching.
Diameter: 265.8 cm
Crown Spread A: 28.00m
Crown Spread B: 24.00m
Avg. Crown Spread: 26.00m
Actual Planting Date: actual date not specified
Approx. Planting Date: 1870
e.g. circa. 1860
Current Age: 154 years
Tree Health Description: Appears to be in good health.
Tree Form Type: Multi-trunk
Number of Trunks: 5
Tree Form Comments: A number of stems fused near ground level.
Champion Tree Score: 0
Local Protection Status: Yes
Tree Present: Yes
STEM Score: 0


Date Observer Action
18 Jan 2017 Smillie, M.J.


Lat/Long: -39.06052553791075 / 174.07334004543839
Location Name: Taranaki Cathedral Church of St Mary
Address: 37 Vivian St
City/Town: New Plymouth
Region: Taranaki
Location Description: Behind the cathedral, at the foot of the adjacent Marsland Hill
Public Accessibility: Church-Cemetery
Local Authority: New Plymouth District Council


Preview Credit Date
Matt Smillie 27 Dec 2016
Matt Smillie 27 Dec 2016
Copyright © New Zealand Notable Trees Trust 2009. The NZNTT register is provided and supported by Turboweb.