The largest surviving kauri is Tāne Mahuta of Waipoua Forest in Northland. 51.5 metres tall, it has a trunk diameter of 4.5 metres and is estimated to be 1,500 years old. British natural history author Colin Tudge wrote:
‘I have stood at the huge buttressed feet of Tane Mahuta. It is surrounded by other enormous trees, but it makes them seem ordinary. Its trunk rises out of the gloom like an iceberg in the Southern ocean. The mass of epiphytes it holds aloft in its great spreading boughs is a fantastical, floating garden. It must have supported entire dynasties of lizards and invertebrates who never went anywhere else and must have thought, if they could think at all, that Tane Mahuta was the whole world.’ (Colin Tudge, The secret life of trees: how they live and why they matter. London: Penguin Books, 2006, p. 102)
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Photograph by Catherine Tudhope
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