Will Karamea's walking tree get caught napping?

26 May 2024
Development West Coast
It is the last week to vote for Tree of the Year NZ 2024, and competitors are hot on the heals of early leader - the Karamea Walking Tree.

The competition invites New Zealanders to select their favourite from a shortlist of six much loved trees spread across the country.

Tree of the Year Chairman, Brad Cadwallader, says they have been extremely happy with the level of public engagement this year with the voting expected to nearly double from 2022.

“Karamea’s Walking Tree sprinted out to quite a big lead early in the competition, but now seems to have taken a break over this past week,” he said.

“Hard on its heals are Tauranga’s Pitau Road Pōhutukawa and Wellington’s Moko as they jostle for second and third. Will the Walking Tree get caught napping?! But with just 5 days to go, it is still really any tree’s game.”

Development West Coast chief executive, Heath Milne, says the in a region where around 84% of the land is within the conservation estate, the West Coast is jam packed with some pretty amazing trees.

“But one tree stands a branch above the rest — Karamea’s Walking Tree. We encourage everyone to get out and vote, or better still visit Karamea and see it strut its stuff in person.”

Voting closes at midnight on 31 May, with winners announced on 5 June (Arbor Day). It takes just a few minutes to go to the treeoftheyear.co.nz website and vote for your favourite to win this year’s title.

Description about the Karamea Walking Tree:

“With its twin trunks stretched as if they are mid-stride – and wearing high heels! – across the West Coast, near the Karamea Cemetery, is The Walking Tree. With an appearance like one of Tolkien’s sentient, tree-like Ents, it’s easy to see how The Walking Tree got its name. This characterful tree is a northern rātā (Metrosideros robusta), one of Aotearoa New Zealand’s tallest flowering trees – but you might be surprised to learn it begins life as an epiphyte growing upon another host tree, high in the forest canopy. Eventually, the northern rātā’s roots reach the ground and, after many years, envelopes the original host. Northern rātā can live for up to 1,000 years, so who knows how long this windswept walker has been strutting its stuff just north of Karamea.”

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