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Rewarewa

Known as New Zealand honeysuckle, with a nectar loved by birds, bees, and humans.

Rewarewa
Knightia excelsa
Can grow as high as
28m
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More about this tree

  • A tall tree (up to 28m high) known in the forest canopy for its symmetrical, conical appearance.
  • Rewarewa is unique in New Zealand as is one of only two members of the protea family, Proteaceae, to have survived the ice age (the other is the toru Toronia toru).
  • It has a finely textured bark and is found in lowland and montane forests in the North Island and Marlborough Sounds.
  • The distinctive red and yellow rewarewa flowers occur in spring, and their nectar is enjoyed by birds and humans. 
  • Bees are also attracted to rewarewa, and produce a delicious honey which is described as “dark, malty and complex with a sweet finish” (Robert Vennell).
  • The seed pods are also a distinctive, curved shape which Māori tradition says inspired the shape of the waka.
  • European settlers liked the reddish flecked wood and used it for decorative purposes. It was also used in bush tramways and as fence battens, and by Māori as river posts and palisade walls. 
  • It was not used as firewood though – hence its nickname, the ‘bucket of water tree’.
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