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Tree Information x

Identifier: WCR/1858
Tree Type: Single
Registered By: Smillie, M.J.
Registration Category: Notable tree/s – Local interest
General Notes:
Number 85 in Burstall’s Great Trees of New New Zealand [1], this tree apparently made the list not on size - it is not even the largest southern rātā on the trail to the tree, and dwarfed by discoveries in 2022 [2] - but on form: Southern rātā is usually terrestrial – however this example started as a epiphyte in a kāmahi tree, gradually encasing the kāmahi as the rātā grew up and away from the kāmahi.

The tree is located on the Moraine Walk, a reasonably short thirty minute loop track on the southern (now main) access track to the Fox glacier. Around halfway along the loop track, in an older section of rātā/kāmahi forest with the odd podocarp, well before the 1600 AD terminal moraine of the glacier. On ground uncovered by the retreating glacier, past the 1750 terminal moraine at the southern end of the Moraine Walk, a young forest of almost pure rātā has grown, with tall, narrow trunks (Smillie, M.J., 2023)

1. S.W. Burstall and E.V. Sale, Great Trees of New Zealand, 1984
2. Forest and Bird, Giant Discovery, accessed January 2023

Single Tree Details

Genus: Metrosideros
Species: umbellata
Common names: southern rata,
Height: 20.80m
Height measurement method: Nikon Forestry Pro
Height Comments: Straight shot to highest visible foliage
Girth: 553 cm
Girth measurement height: 2 m
Girth Comments: Taken on main stem of rātā, above the central kāmahi stem. 6.8 m girth at 1.4 m encompassing both stems.
Diameter: 176 cm
Crown Spread A: 10.00m
Crown Spread B: 12.00m
Avg. Crown Spread: 11.00m
Actual Planting Date: actual date not specified
Approx. Planting Date: 1500
e.g. circa. 1860
Current Age: 524 years
Tree Health Description: The main stem has loss of foliage at the top
Tree Form Type: Fusion
Number of Trunks: 2
Tree Form Comments: Leaning to the west, over the track, with no growth east of the original kāmahi tree
Champion Tree Score: 0
Local Protection Status: Yes
Tree Present: Yes
STEM Score: 0


Date Observer Action
22 Jan 2023 Smillie, M.J.


Lat/Long: -43.48479626718219 / 170.02414457419172
Location Name: Westland Tai Poutini National Park
Address: SH6 Haast Highway
City/Town: Fox Glacier
Region: West Coast
Location Description: Along the Moraine Walk loop track from the southern (now main) access track to the glacier viewpoints
Public Accessibility: Department of Conservation
Local Authority: Westland District Council


Preview Credit Date
Matt Smillie 22 Jan 2023
Matt Smillie 15 Jan 2023
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