Historical Tree Records

Historical Tree Records

Notable Trees of the Past

The Trees of New Zealand are notable on two main counts - the special character, as well as in some cases the size, of the indigenous flora;  and the growth rate and beauty of many of the introduced species.

Many of our indigenous trees are thousands of years old.  In the early years of settlement in this country many of the prime specimens were taken down or lost when bush was burnt to clear land for habitation and farming.  Early forestry records of this heritage remain to remind us what has been lost.

The first exotic trees were planted in Northland by the early european settlers in 1819.  Most of these early trees were fruit trees, with an old pear tree at Kerikeri still surviving to this day.  The next 30 years saw many other exotic trees introduced in Northland.  From 1840, as other areas around New Zealand were settled, exotic trees were planted in most of the major centres.  The first recordings and measurement of growth of exotic trees started in 1866.  By 1941 the earliest known recordings of historic and notable trees was compiled.  Since then many surveys have been carried out, largely the result of efforts of the New Zealand Forest Research Institute.  Due to the contribution made by New Zealand Forest Service officers W. H. Jolliffe, J. Johnson, A. D. McEwan, W. J. Wendelken and S. W Burstall numerous records now remain of some of our earliest exotic trees and the finest of our remaining indigenous trees. Many of those trees have been lost or felled or have succumed to age or the weather.  Some of those trees are recorded here.

Historical records of former trees (measurements and old photos) can be added to the tree register in the same way existing trees can be.
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