Beilschmiedia tawa



Tawa trees can grow up to 35 metres tall. The tree species have grey, smooth bark and a straight trunk. The leaves are glossy and broad with a unique yellow-green colour. 


Tawa is usually found in lowlands and along coastal forests throughout New Zealand. 

Cultural Importance

Tawa has a long history of use by Māori. The bark was used for medicinal purposes, carving, and buildings. The tree was also highly valued as it was thought to have protective properties.  

Ecological Role

Tawa provides habitat and food for native birds and insects. Tawa also contributes to the structural complexity and diversity of the native ecosystem.

Associated Birds

Kākā: Kākā are large, charismatic forest parrots that are often found in areas where Miro trees grow. They have a beautiful mix of green, red, and brown feathers. Kākā feed on the nectar, fruit, and seeds of Miro trees, playing a role in their pollination and seed dispersal.

Kōkako: The Kōkako is an iconic New Zealand bird known for its distinctive blue-grey plumage, wattles, and melodious song. They are closely associated with native forests, including those with Miro trees. Kōkako feed on the berries and leaves of Miro trees and are important for seed dispersal.

Tūī: Tūī are medium-sized honeyeaters with a striking iridescent plumage and a distinctive white throat tuft. They visit Miro trees for their nectar-rich flowers and play a role in pollination. Tūī also feed on the fruits and insects found in and around Miro trees.

Kererū: Kererū are large, green pigeons with a distinctive white chest and iridescent feathers. They are known for their noisy flight and play a vital role in seed dispersal. Kererū feed on the fruits of Miro trees, swallowing the seeds and dispersing them through their droppings.

Fantail: Fantails are small insectivorous birds with a fan-shaped tail. They are often seen flitting through the branches of Miro trees, catching insects disturbed by their movements. Fantails are known for their friendly and acrobatic nature.

Ruru (Morepork): The native owl of New Zealand, Ruru are nocturnal birds that may roost in Miro trees during the day. They are known for their haunting calls and feed on a variety of prey, including insects, small mammals, and birds.

Pīpipi: Pīpipi, also known as Brown Creepers, are small birds with mottled brown plumage. They are skilled climbers and forage for insects and spiders on the trunks and branches of Tawa trees. Pīpipi use their curved bills to probe into crevices in search of prey.

Conservation status

Tawa is not classified as a threatened species.

Interesting Facts

  • Tawa leaves are sometimes used as a natural insect repellent.
  • The tree's wood is highly prized for its durability and is used for furniture and flooring.
  • Tawa is sometimes called the "Tawhai" tree, which means "to beget offspring" in Māori.

Conservation Tips

While Tawa is not currently threatened, it is essential to support conservation efforts to protect native forests and the ecosystems they keep.