Rātā are special because every few years they flower spectacularly, covering the canopy briefly in red and providing huge supplies of nectar to the tui and bellbird.
Possums eat rātā leaves and kill trees and Project Janszoon is planting new rātā wherever there is suitable habitat.
There are three tree rātā in New Zealand: one restricted to the far north, one (southern rātā) found throughout South Island, including high elevations in the Park, and northern rātā found through the North Island and into the northern part of the South Island. They belong to the genus Metrosideros meaning ‘iron-hearted’ because the wood is exceptionally heavy and hard.
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