Patricia Howitt - Artist, Illustrator, Writer
The book "Taketakerau The Millenium Tree" by Marnie Anstis tells the story of a massive Puriri tree (Vitex lucens), from the moment of its germination as a seedling on the forest floor 2000 years ago, to the present day, where it stands protected in the Hikutaia Domain, Opotiki, attracting hundreds of visitors every year.
The Maori people gave this tree the name Taketakerau when they found it growing deep in the virgin forests of Aotearoa NZ hundreds of years ago.
The name means "strong branches to bear many leaves" and the Maori were so in awe of the magnificent tree, that the local iwi made it sacred and for centuries used it as a place to lay the bones of their revered ancestors.
Estimated at over 2000 years old, this tree has seen major events in the history of Aotearoa New Zealand, and the rise and fall of empires on the world stage.
Set against this background of New Zealand history and major world events, the story of this tree makes fascinating reading. Its messages for all of us are unforgettable.