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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 6, Issue 7 (February 1, 1932.)

Character in Trees

Character in Trees.

How human-seeming are some of our native trees, seen under certain conditions. The rata's thug-like habit of strangling its friends and supporters is well known. There is an excellent example of the vampire tree at its fell work to be seen from the railway train just before you reach Tarukenga, on the Rotorua line. It is encircling a rimu tree a few yards from the iron rails, and its powerful lateral fingers seem to be compressing the luckless red-pine's throat. The rata is often to be found growing on and encircling the pukatea, a large and handsome tree with a glossy leaf, and the Maoris say it is the pukatea's lover, a bit of forest romance about which a little song is current in Taranaki.

How tragic are some of those ruined trees, ghosts of the forest, on the edge of a devastated area of bush! One in my mind's eye at the moment is a dead puriri of huge size, in a clearing ragged with the half-burned debris of a cow-paddock in the making. It is bleached white as a bone, its upper branches are gone, but those which remain are pointed like fingers. The ancient tree looks like a gaunt giant hand upthrust from the earth, appealing to heaven for vengeance on the murderers of the green and lovely forest.