It’s official, I’m a tree huggger! Look, see…
According to the Urban Dictionary, a tree hugger is ‘An environmentalist or one who believes trees and all living things should not be cut down or harmed’. I have to say, the second part of the definition fits me pretty well, being a vegetarian and someone who believes in travelling responsibly. The natural world fascinates me and this tree is a perfect example of the incredible natural world around us. That isn’t the reason why I was actually hugging the tree though. Allow me to explain…
I was on my way from Auckland to Paihia, which is in the north of the North Island, as part of a tour with other travellers. On the way, we stopped off at Matakohe to see this tree, a kauri tree, which is native to New Zealand and this week’s Foto Friday.
We were told that these trees were very important to Maoris and that it is good luck to hug them, so we all took turns to hug the tree and have our photos taken (as you do). I don’t actually know if that’s really true, or if they just had a good laugh at our expense. I certainly couldn’t find anything about it on the Interent. Nonetheless, the kauri tree trunks are huge, as you can see in the photograph above. I’m only hugging a small part of the trunk, which can have a girth of up to 16 metres. That’s BIG!
Unfortunately, we heard the usual story of deforestation. This began in the 1800s and resulted in a significant decline in kauri trees, with the wood being used locally to build ships and houses as well as being exported to Australia and the UK. Nowadays, it’s all about conserving the remaining trees and forests as well as reforestation.
If you’re interested in finding out more about these trees, you could take a look at the Kauri Museum and visit Waipoua Forest in Northland, which has the largest area of mature kauri forest.
This is a map of the locations mentioned, so you can get a clearer idea of where these places are in New Zealand.
Have your say
Have you ever hugged a tree? If so, which one and why? Do you know if it is good luck to hug a kauri tree in New Zealand, or is it purely for the guide’s entertainment? I’d love to know!