Tag Archives: Tane Mahuta

To see the fascinating original post on Arbor Day by Mrs. Ranney's class...

Astonishing Arbor Day - Then and Now!

Hello Mrs. Ranney and class,

I was fascinated by the tree photo you shared. Knowing exactly when a tree was planted and being able to see how much it has grown reminds us how change happens over time. For humans, 28 years would see us grow from newborn babies into adulthood and possibly as parents of a new generation.

Your tree, the silk floss tree, interested me because you shared it is related to the kapok tree. When I was young, our bed pillows were often filled with kapok fibres. Kapok pillows can still be bought and it's claimed "Kapok is resistant to mites, mold and mildew so its hygienic, non toxic, hypo allergenic and environmentally friendly." (taken from Kapok Pillows Australia website)

I know kapok was also an important resource around the time of World War II because it was used in life preservers but, when the Japanese captured the Dutch East Indies (now Indonesia), a new source of fibres was needed. From some research, I found children in U.S.A. collected milkweed pods to use their "silk". If they had a forest of your silk floss trees, they would probably have used them. They might have been an important war resource.


When I noticed your silk floss tree was planted in 1986, I remembered an old photo I only today scanned into my computer. It was a photo I took in 1986 of a tree in New Zealand. Let me show you Tane Mahuta, the kauri tree...

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Schools and students have permission to use this graphic for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Tane Mahuta, Lord of the Forest, is 13.77m (45.2 ft) around its base. In the photo, you can see its trunk is about the same size up to the branches. To the top of its branches,  it is 51.2m (168 ft) in height.

Was I around when it was first planted?

No. No one is sure how old the tree is but it is estimated to be anywhere from 1,250 to 2,500 years old.

If this old tree could speak, I wonder what stories of long ago it might share?

Tane Mahuta has a part in Maori cultural heritage. Here is a link to the story of Tane Mahuta...

Tāne Mahuta: separator of heaven and earth