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The New Zealand Railways Magazine, Volume 10, Issue 1 (April 1, 1935)

The Golden Tree of Paradise

The Golden Tree of Paradise.

In the farewell address by the Waikato Maoris to their Excellencies Lord and Lady Bledisloe there were some of the poetic allusions in which the old-time orators delighted and which fortunately are still treasured and on occasion used by their descendants.

One of these eloquent flights of symbolism likened the departing Governor and his wife to the “Kowhai-tu-rangiora” of legend, the sacred trees that showered their golden blossoms (typifying benevolence and affection) on the Maori people. The classic expression is a very beautiful phrase to the Maori mind. Rangiora is an ancient Polynesian name; it signifies health, beauty, and well-being and joyfulness, and a great deal more. I have frequently heard mention of the “Kowhai-tu-rangiora” in ceremonial speeches among the Waikato, Ngati-Maniapoto and other tribes descended from the crew of the immigrant sailing canoe Tainui. It is peculiarly a saying of the Tainui stock. Students of comparative folk-lore may be reminded of Fraser's “Golden Bough.”