Karamea Walking Tree Wins 2024 Tree of the Year New Zealand
The New Zealand Arboricultural Association (NZ Arb) is delighted to announce The Walking Tree as the winner of the 2024 Tree of the Year New Zealand award.

This extraordinary northern rātā (Metrosideros robusta), located near the Karamea Cemetery, captivated the hearts and imaginations of New Zealanders with its unique appearance and fascinating life story.

The Walking Tree was nominated by Bryan Bell, who highlighted its remarkable form and captivating presence. With its twin trunks stretched as if in mid-stride – and seemingly wearing high heels – this tree is a striking natural wonder. Its resemblance to one of Tolkien’s sentient, tree-like Ents has earned it the affectionate nickname, The Walking Tree. The tree was the clear favourite in the competition, running off with over 42% of total votes. Organisers were more than happy with the level of participation with voting more than double that from last year.

The northern rātā is one of New Zealand’s tallest flowering trees. Surprisingly, it begins life as an epiphyte growing high in the forest canopy upon another host tree. Over time, its roots reach the ground, and it eventually envelops the original host. Northern rātā can live for up to 1,000 years, and it remains a mystery just how long this windswept walker has been strutting its stuff north of Karamea.

West Coast’s ‘walking’ rātā wins Tree of the Year
The tree, known affectionately as The Walking Tree, as it looks like it is walking across the paddock in high heels as well as having a resemblance to one of J R R Tolkien’s sentient, tree-like Ents from Lord of the Rings, won 42 percent of the votes in the annual competition.

Brad Cadwallader from the Arboricultural Association told RNZ’s Morning Report the tree captured the imagination of the New Zealand public. “It just strode out into the lead right from the very start.” The northern rātā is one of New Zealand’s tallest flowering tree species and can live up to 1000 years.


Image courtesy SWNS / NZ Arb Tree of the Year

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