Prumnopitys taxifolia



Matai is a large evergreen coniferous tree that can grow up to 30 meters tall. It has a straight trunk with a dense crown of dark green, needle-like leaves. The bark is thick and rough, with deep grooves and ridges.


Matai is native to New Zealand's South Island and Stewart Island. It is commonly found in mixed and podocarp forests, often growing on well-drained soils.

Cultural Importance

Matai is a significant tree for Māori, who traditionally use wood for building and carving. The tree also holds spiritual and cultural significance, representing strength and resilience.

Ecological Role

Matai provides a habitat for various native birds and insects, and its large size contributes to the structural complexity and stability of native forests. As a long-lived species, it also plays an important role in carbon sequestration, helping to mitigate climate change.

Associated Birds

Kākāriki: Colourful parakeets that inhabit Tītoki forests. They have green feathers and can be seen foraging for seeds, fruits, and insects.

Kingfisher: Small bird with vibrant blue and orange plumage. Known to frequent Tītoki areas, where it hunts for small fish, insects, and crustaceans near water bodies.

Grey Warbler: Tiny bird with a melodious song, often found in Tītoki forests. It forages for insects among the foliage and builds its delicate nest on the branches.

Shining Cuckoo: Migratory bird that arrives in New Zealand during the spring season, coinciding with the flowering of Tītoki trees. It primarily feeds on insects and nectar.

Fantail: Agile bird known for its fan-shaped tail and acrobatic flight. Often spotted in Tītoki forests, where it hunts insects by fluttering and flicking its tail.

Bellbird: Medium-sized songbird attracted to the nectar-rich flowers of Tītoki trees. Its beautiful song resonates through the forest as it also feeds on insects and fruits.

Tūī: Medium-sized honeyeaters with distinctive white throat tufts. They visit Tītoki trees for their nectar and play a crucial role in pollination.

Silvereye: Small passerine bird that frequents Tītoki forests. It feeds on insects, fruits, and nectar, contributing to the pollination of Tītoki flowers.

Stitchbird: Endangered bird species known for its vibrant plumage and unique bill. Tītoki trees provide them with nectar and fruits, supporting their survival.

Conservation Status

Matai is not currently considered threatened, but its habitat is vulnerable to habitat loss and degradation from activities such as logging and land development.

Interesting Facts

  • Matai is sometimes called "black pine" due to the dark colour of its wood.
  • The seeds of Matai were once an important food source for Māori.
  • Matai is known for its slow growth rate, with some trees taking up to 800 years to reach full maturity!

Conservation Tips

To help conserve Matai and its habitat, individuals can support efforts to protect native forests and oppose activities threatening these ecosystems. Keeping sustainable forestry practices and purchasing wood products from certified sustainable sources can also help to reduce the demand for unsustainable logging practices.