Incredible ‘Walking Tree’ is Named New Zealand’s 2024 Tree of the Year

The extraordinary Metrosideros robusta, affectionately known as The Walking Tree, has been crowned New Zealand’s 2024 Tree of the Year by the New Zealand Arboricultural Association. Located near a cemetery on South Island, this remarkable tree, with its leg-like trunks, immediately brings to mind Tolkien’s walking Ents from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Nominated by Bryan Bell for its unique form and captivating presence, The Walking Tree’s twin trunks appear as if caught in mid-stride, and its silhouette intriguingly resembles high heels. The association remarked on its striking natural beauty, making it a standout among the finalists, securing 42% of the total votes to clinch the top honor.

Registered on The New Zealand Tree Registry, this northern rātā, capable of living up to 1,000 years, begins life as an epiphyte before its roots reach the ground and envelop the host tree. Its mysterious age and windswept appearance north of Karamea add to its allure. The third annual Tree of the Year campaign celebrates the vital role trees play in enhancing our environments and providing a sense of place across generations. Richie Hill, the association’s president, emphasized The Walking Tree as a testament to the remarkable diversity of New Zealand’s trees and a must-see destination for nature enthusiasts. This accolade underscores the tree’s significance within the community and highlights the unique natural heritage that New Zealanders are privileged to experience.

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