Ngaio is a smaller native evergreen tree that can grow up to 15 meters tall with a trunk diameter of up to 50 cm. Its bark is a light grey, and its leaves are glossy green, oval-shaped, and can grow up to 10 cm long. The tree produces small white flowers and small, fleshy, purple-black fruit.
Ngaio is native to coastal areas of the North Island and the top of the South Island of New Zealand. It grows in sandy and rocky soils and is often found near the sea, on cliffs, and in coastal forests.
Ngaio has a long history of use by Māori, who used its bark for medicinal purposes and the wood for making fishing gear, tool handles, and weapons. The tree is also used for erosion control and as a shelterbelt.
Kākāriki: Kākāriki, or parakeets, are colourful parrots that may visit Ngaio trees. Their bright plumage and energetic behaviour make them a vibrant addition to the tree's surroundings.
North Island Robin: North Island Robins are small passerine birds with dark plumage and a distinctive white patch on the forehead. They forage for insects on and around Ngaio trees.
Pīwakawaka: Fantails are agile birds known for their fan-shaped tail and friendly behaviour. They can often be seen fluttering around Ngaio trees, catching insects on the wing.
Grey Warblers: Grey Warblers, are tiny birds known for their melodious song. They may forage for insects among the foliage of Ngaio trees.
Rifleman: Rifleman are one of New Zealand's smallest bird species. They may visit Ngaio trees in search of insects and small invertebrates.
Kererū: Kererū, or New Zealand Pigeons, are large, distinctive birds known for their role in seed dispersal. They may consume fruits from Ngaio trees.
Silvereye: Silvereyes are small passerine birds with a distinctive white eye ring. They may visit Ngaio trees for insects and small fruits.
Ngaio provides a habitat for native birds and insects and is an important food source for the native New Zealand pigeon (kererū). The tree is also helpful in stabilising coastal sand dunes and preventing erosion.
Ngaio is not currently classified as a threatened species, but it is important to manage and conserve its habitats to ensure the health of the ecosystems it supports.
To help conserve ngaio and its habitats, it is important to avoid removing trees from coastal areas and to avoid using harmful chemicals that can harm the tree and its associated wildlife. It is also important to support local conservation efforts and community projects that aim to restore and protect ngaio habitats.