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Tree Information x

Identifier: GR/0176
Historical Reg No: 116
Tree Type: Single
Registered By: Johnston, J.L.
Registration Category: Notable tree – International interest
General Notes:
Planted by Bishop William Williams an Anglican Missionary (Johnston, 1986).

Burstall's number 53 in his book, where it was noted in "full confidence" that it was the largest of its species in New Zealand, and potentially in the world [1].

The tree was one of a number of plantings, now much reduced, at the site of the former Waerenga-a-hika mission, donated to the Crown by the Taupara whanau in 1857 for the purposes of building a school, started in 1859 by the Anglican Church.

The mission site was at the site of the decisive battles between followers of the Pai Mārire movement and government/allied Ngāti Porou forces: The land around the mission had been taken over by the Pai Mārire in early 1865 but the pā they built was then besieged by the government forces until a surrender in late November 1865 [1,2].

The school burnt down in 1937, and was not rebuilt due to lack of funds. The Waerenga-a-hika Trust Act 1947 and the subsequent Te Whanau-a-Taupara Trust Empowering Act 2003 means that the land still supports the education of Whanau-a-Taupara and other Te Aitanga-a-Māhaki children.

Smillie, 2022

1 Burstall & Sale, Great Trees of New Zealand, 1984
2 'Pai Mārire', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 22-Oct-2021

Single Tree Details

Genus: Casuarina
Species: equisetifolia
Common names: beach she-oak, coast she-oak
Height: 29.60m
Height measurement method: Laser Nikon Forestry 550
Height Comments: Taken some distance away from College Road
Girth: 663 cm
Girth measurement height: 1.4 m
Girth Comments: Taken from Burstall, 1984
Diameter: 211 cm
Crown Spread A: 21.00m
Crown Spread B: 25.00m
Avg. Crown Spread: 23.00m
Actual Planting Date: actual date not specified
Approx. Planting Date: circa 1860
e.g. circa. 1860
Current Age: 164 years
Tree Health Description: A bit old and raggedy from a distance, but little change from 1984 images
Tree Form Type: Single Trunk
Number of Trunks: 1
Tree Form Comments: (none)
Champion Tree Score: 377
Local Protection Status: Unknown
Tree Present: Yes
STEM Score: 0


Date Observer Action
19 Jul 2022 Smillie, M.J. & J.
01 Jan 1986 Johnston, J.L.


Lat/Long: -38.59446200369064 / 177.92928417368012
Location Name: Waerenga-a-Hika
Address: 764 Matawai Road SH2
Suburb: Waerengaakika
City/Town: Gisborne
Region: Gisborne
Location Description: On private land, but easily visible from SH2 and especially College Road, past the trig station.
Public Accessibility: Farmland
Local Authority: Gisborne District Council


Preview Credit Date
Matt Smilie 19 Jul 2022
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