The pohutukawa tree (Metrosideros excelsa) with its crimson flower has become an established part of the New Zealand Christmas tradition. This iconic Kiwi Christmas tree, which often features on greeting cards and in poems and songs, has become an important symbol for New Zealanders at home and abroad.
In 1833 the missionary Henry Williams described holding service under a ‘wide spreading pohutukawa’. The first known published reference to the pohutukawa as a Christmas tree came in 1857 when ‘flowers of the scarlet Pohutukawa, or “Christmas tree”’ formed part of table decorations at a feast put on by Ngāpuhi leader Eruera Patuone. Several years later Austrian geologist Ferdinand von Hochstetter noted that settlers referred to it as such. The pohutukawa, he observed, ‘about Christmas … are full of charming … blossoms’; ‘the settler decorates his church and dwellings with its lovely branches’.
We’ve planted 3 on the bluff that drops steeply to the Waimea Estuary in front of the cottage and this is the first year we’ve had blossoms.
This excited Ms NTNDP so much that she slipped into the local vernacular, throwing any idea of verb agreement to the wind, but immediately correcting herself – linguistic scholar that she is……
But one does fight a losing battle here in Nyazilnd.
When journalists write “There is many ways of looking this…” and when the Prime Minister says “anythink” and “everythink”, it’s truly time to give up and go with the flow….