Image: Benhi Dixon | Creative Commons
This short walk leads you under cooling shade of the forest canopy to the majestic Tāne Mahuta, New Zealand's largest living kauri tree.
Not far into the walk, a sweeping corner of the track suddenly brings you face to face with the ‘Lord of the Forest’. When you catch your first breath-taking view of this magnificent tree, you'll feel compelled to pause for a while. You can almost feel Tāne Mahuta’s strength and ancient presence, and its overwhelming size makes visitors look like dwarfs.
There is a wooden fence and a seat to view the tree. To get a broader view of Tāne Mahuta, you can move further along the track, which then leads to another viewing platform.
The Tāne Mahuta Walk is signposted from SH12, which runs through the Waipoua Forest. The southern township of Dargaville is 65 km away and the northern township of Omapere is 18 km.
The road widens at the Tāne Mahuta car park to accommodate visitor vehicles. There is a picnic area, and toilets located 25 m back from the car park on the opposite side of the road from the track entrance.
It is very important that you keep to the walking track at all times. Kauri trees have very sensitive surface roots, and foot traffic around the tree endangers their life span.
Tāne Mahuta ('Lord of the Forest') is New Zealand’s largest known living kauri tree.
It is thought the first encounter of the tree by Westerners was in the 1920s, by contractors surveying the present SH12 through the forest. In 1928, Nicholas Yakas and other bushmen who were building the road, also came across the big tree Tāne Mahuta.
According to Maori mythology Tāne is the son of Ranginui the sky father and Papatuanuku the earth mother. Tāne was the child that tore his parents' parental embrace and once done set about clothing his mother in the forest we have here today. All living creatures of the forest are regarded as Tāne's children.