Written by Marjorie Dawson

New Zealand Pohutakawa Tree

New Zealand Pohutakawa Tree

It is summer here in New Zealand and the cats are enjoying some serious garden shade and playtime fun while the Pohutakawa trees blaze furiously everywhere we travel. So what’s been happening here? Let me update you about our amazing native trees and this week’s cat fun.

My family spends a lot of time gardening every summer, and of course, the cats need to supervise. Toulouse, as the new cat in the family, is enjoying his first year exploring the grass and shrubs. He is also learning that he can jump our garden stream just like Miranda. I am working on getting a snapshot of that as it’s one of my favourite types of photo the ACTION shot!

New Zealand’s Christmas Tree

I mentioned our blazing trees and I wanted to share some cool photos of the capital, Wellington that I took on my last visit.

2021 has got off to a good start in our part of New Zealand with mixed sun and showers giving The Pohutakawa (Po-hu-ta-kawa) a chance to show off their best blooms.

New Zealand Pohutakawa Tree
55 mm ISO 200 F5.6 1/800 © Dash Kitten

Every tree looks as though it is covered in a frosting of deep red. The tree is often called New Zealand’s Christmas Tree as it flowers in summer which is Christmas time here. The picture above shows New Zealand’s parliament, the ‘Beehive‘, with a tree glowing red outside in the warm sunshine.

If you have never seen one, New Zealand’s Pohutakawa tree looks stunning. The red covered tree also scatters its slender flowers everywhere, with pavements, parks and roadsides covered with a rosy ‘snow’.

Pohutakawa tree blossom on the ground, New Zealand
55 mm ISO 800 F10 1/30 © Dash Kitten

Until this year I had not thought of capturing the effect of the flowers as we are so used to seeing them, but, just before Christmas I visited Wellington, our capital city, and the effect was so amazzing that I had to photograph the pohutukawa blooms scattered around the city.

I hope you enjoy the impact of the spectacular end to their flowering season.

What Is A Pohutakawa?

The following is taken from a detailed description on Wikipedia.

Metrosideros excelsa – pohutukawa (M?ori: p?hutukawa), New Zealand Christmas tree, is a coastal evergreen tree in the myrtle family that produces a brilliant display of red flowers made up of a mass of stamens. The blossom of the tree is called kahika.

New Zealand Pohutakawa Tree
55 mm ISO 200 F8 1/20 © Dash Kitten

The pohutakawa is one of twelve species endemic to New Zealand. Renowned for its vibrant colour and its ability to survive even perched on rocky, precarious cliffs, it has an important place in New Zealand culture for its strength and beauty, and is regarded as a chiefly tree (r?kau rangatira) by M?ori.

New Zealand Pohutakawa Tree
117 mm ISO 200 F8 1/250 © Dash Kitten
cat stalks
‘Stalking the Grass’ – 55-250mm ISO 400 F5.6 1/1000 © Dash Kitten

The warm weather and freshly mown grass have given Toulouse an excellent playground with the ornamental grass coming in for some rough treatment. The grasses can take the punishment though and I managed some fun fight shots as the brave cat went in for the ‘kill’.

‘Going to Get You Grass’ – 55-250mm ISO 400 F5.6 1/250 © Dash Kitten
‘Phew! I got it’ – 55-250mm ISO 400 F16 1/250 © Dash Kitten

I hope that you enjoyed seeing New Zealand’s red snow and Toulouse in a playful mood.

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12 thoughts on “New Zealand Pohutakawa Tree”

  1. Toulouse is a fun kitty! Attacking the grass must have been hilarious to watch!

    Your native Christmas trees are marvelous!! All that bright colour!

  2. Toulous! You deaded that grass really well! I can’t wait until we can get out and about without frozen toes! (and being up to our bellies in snow). And we love the Pohutukawa trees! WOW! We thought the cherry trees in Vancouver were great, but these are even greater! Do they have a scent?

    • Dude you gets frozen toes? * Looks horrified* You need me to send boots or something? – Toulouse

  3. Great shots of Toulouse having fun. Very pretty trees. Wishing you and the kitties a happy and healthy new year! XO

  4. How nice to see Toulouse having so much fun in the grass ! Beautiful photos ! Those trees are amazing ! Purrs

  5. Toulouse is having so much fun with that grass.
    The Pohutakawa adds lovely vibrant colour to the city.

  6. How nice that Toulouse is enjoying that grass/play toy so much. We love those photos!

    And the pohutukawa trees are fascinating. Red snow, indeed!

    Happy New Year, sweet pals. XO


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