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Tree Information x

Identifier: TR/1833
Tree Type: Single
Registered By: Smillie, M.J.
Registration Category: Notable tree/s – Local interest
General Notes:
"..in the grounds of the Pukeiti Rhododendron Trust, near New Plymouth, only slightly smaller than the Bushy Park tree [WGR/0371] and with a tall trunk to the first branch (girth 10.9 m; height 33.8 m). Very prominent with this tree is the large hole left by the rotting of the rimu which the rata vine crushed before itself becoming a mighty tree. The tree was pictured in Edwin A Menniningers Fantastic Trees, a publication on tree marvels and monstrosities..." [1]

Pukeiti ("little hill") takes its name from the small volcanic cone immediately to the east of the gardens and is renowned for its rhododendron collection. Douglas Cook, of Eastwoodhill fame purchased the land, adjacent Egmont National Park, and donated it to the Pukeiti Rhododendron Trust in the early 1950s. The garden is now run by the Taranaki Regional Council, along with Hollard Gardens and Tupare, the latter being the former residence of Russell Matthews, another of Pukeiti's founders [2].

This tree was a popular feature at Pukeiti, and was one of numerous massive rātā on the lower slopes of Taranaki. However, rapidly growing cracks and imminent structural collapse led to the tree being felled for safety in December 2020 [3]. The fallen tree has been left to decompose naturally.

Smillie, 2022

References:
1) S.W. Burstall & E.V. Sale, Great Trees of New Zealand, pp166-167, 1984
2) https://www.trc.govt.nz/gardens/pukeiti/
3) https://www.teaomaori.news/800-year-old-rata-felled-safety-reasons-taranaki

Single Tree Details

Genus: Metrosideros
Species: robusta
Common names: northern rata,
Height: 30.00m
Height measurement method: Estimated
Height Comments: Based on signage
Girth: 1240 cm
Girth measurement height: 1.4 m
Girth Comments: Based on signage. Height of girth would be problematic: the difference between the upper and lower sides of the tree was around 3 m, and more a small bluff than a slope
Diameter: 394.7 cm
Crown Spread A: 10.00m
Crown Spread B: 15.00m
Avg. Crown Spread: 12.50m
Actual Planting Date: actual date not specified
Approx. Planting Date: 1200
e.g. circa. 1860
Current Age: 822 years
Tree Health Description: Ancient, weathered tree with little foliage before its demise.
Tree Form Type: Multi-trunk
Number of Trunks: 3
Tree Form Comments: Tall trunk for the species
Champion Tree Score: 0
Local Protection Status: Unknown
Tree Present: No
STEM Score: 0

Observations

Date Observer Action
01 Apr 2013 Smillie, M.J.

Location

Lat/Long: -39.197787982268956 / 173.9783108048721
Location Name: Pukeiti
Address: 2290 Carrington Road
Suburb:
City/Town: New Plymouth
Region: Taranaki
Location Description: The tree was on the Valley of the Giants walk, to the northwest of the entrance
Public Accessibility: Local Council Park
Local Authority: Taranaki Regional Council

Images

Preview Credit Date
Matt Smillie 01 Apr 2013
Matt Smillie 01 Apr 2013
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