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Friday, December 26, 2008

The New Zealand Christmas Tree

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The beautiful Pohutakawa tree is in full flower at this time of year and is known as the New Zealand Christmas Tree.  The deep crimson flowers are made up of a mass of stamens tipped with yellow.  The Pohutakawa is a large coastal tree and grows up to 20 metres in height.

The Paekakariki Motor Camp has many of these beautiful trees including one of the rare yellow variety.  The camp managers have trimmed back some of the trees including this very special yellow flowing specimen so it will not be blooming this year.

The local newspaper ran a story of an elderly couple at camp showing them sitting under a Pohutakawa.  Jack and Maisie have been holidaying on the same site at this camp at Christmas and Easter for 15 years.  At 80 plus, they say they plan to return each year, for as long as they are able to.

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The first New Zealand Christmas Service was celebrated in 1814 by English missionary Samuel Marsden who said:  “…..on the shore the New Zealand Christmas tree, the Pohutakawa, whose scarlet flowers outshone even the glory of the English holly”.  High praise indeed for the tree which is symbol of Christmas here in New Zealand.

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