Why planting is important for Matariki

Many of our public holidays seem to have a connection to trees and nature. There’s the Easter Egg hunt, where unsuspecting branches and bushes hide the chocolate spoils from soon to be very messy little fingers.  It’s not unusual for a ceremonial tree to be planted on the King’s Birthday. And then there’s Matariki, a public holiday with the strongest link to plants despite much of the focus being on the night sky.

Rimu Native Tree foliage close up

Once upon a time, Māori communities would plant a sacred garden at the rising of the Matariki. This is a notion we appreciate, as we often give meaning and memories to plants and trees. It’s part of a deeper connection with nature and there’s something entirely wonderful about sitting in the shade of a tree planted by a loved one.

Photo: DACRYDIUM cupressinum – Native Rimu foliage close-up.

Planting trees (or te whakato rākau) signifies new beginnings and looking forward. It’s an important part of Matariki celebrations, which is a time to look back, look inside, and then look forward. Which brings us to this – we hope you enjoy Matariki and everywhere you look, you see the smiles of family and friends. Now to this week’s tree, which is a protected native that has a special place in New Zealand hearts and history…

Dacrydium cupressinum – Native Rimu

Known to live 500+ years, Rimu trees are famed for their many uses: 

– Rimu medium density softwood was used to fashion canoes and tools, then furniture and houses;

– Milling Rimu is no longer allowed and logging of Rimu on public land is forbidden, although the practice continues on some private land;

– Rimu bark was used to treat burns and cuts, helping heal the injured;

– It also provided a different type of ‘medication’, with the bark being used as an ingredient in the beer drunk by Captain Cook’s men;

– Wildlife also favours the Rimu, with the fruit a favourite of the Kākā and Kererū, while moreporks/Ruru enjoy taking a break and resting on the branches.

Photo: DACRYDIUM cupressinum – Native Rimu in 35Lt container, 2m+ height, 7-8 years old.


Linette, Easy Big Trees Sales Manager, checking on the foliage of the 3Lt container Native Rimu, 1m+ height, 3-4 years old . She says it's female

If we’re not trying to eat, carve or brew beer from the Rimu, we can step back and enjoy its impressive form. By the way – Rimu can be male or female. You can tell by the foliage as the female trees are softer, whereas the males are more prickly. Best we say no more about that.

Photo: Linette, Easy Big Trees Sales Manager, checking on the foliage of the 3Lt container Native Rimu, 1m+ height, 3-4 years old . She says it’s female 🙂 


Matariki holiday is celebrated next Friday, 28th of June, and we will be closed.

Testimonial from Rowan, Easy Big Trees client from Taupo.