Pohutukawa, the New Zealand Christmas Tree
December 15, 2017 9:53pm CST
One of the things I love about our New Zealand summer Christmas is when the pohutukawa tree blooms. Some of you will have seen the photo above, as I use it most years. The pohutukawa flowers in December and this year seems to be prolific everywhere. It has become known as the New Zealand Christmas tree. The first recorded Christmas Day service in New Zealand was conducted by the missionary Samuel Marsden in 1814. He had just arrived a few days earlier on the brig 'Active' and landed in the Bay of Islands in the northern part of the country. The service was outdoors in a beach clearing, in an area that had few Europeans at that time. Seats for the Europeans attending the service were made from Maori canoes. This little gathering was surrounded by green New Zealand native trees and made more memorable because of the bright red pohutukawa flowers. The recent arrivals may have had difficulty celebrating Christmas so far from their English home, but this summer scene must have made a welcoming sight.
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