Hihi volunteer needed

Date posted: 18-Oct-2018

Would you like to volunteer with the Island's hihi team and learn from them how ..

2019 Calendars now available

Date posted: 05-Sep-2018

The new 2019 calendars are now available and this year's is better than ever! Th..

Winners of kokako photo competition

Date posted: 02-Sep-2018

The stunning winning photographs from those submitted to the competition as part..

Kokako Celebration

Date posted: 21-Jul-2018


Kokako Photographic Competition

Date posted: 20-Jul-2018

KĊŒKAKO PHOTOGRAPHIC COMPETITION Celebrating 21 years on Tiritiri Matangi To ce..

New monitoring reports published

Date posted: 19-Jul-2018

Reports on monitoring studies carried out over the past year have now been poste..

2018 Concert coming up soon

Date posted: 15-Feb-2018

Our 2018 concert will feature an afternoon of light classics and jazz courtesy of the Auckland Ph..

Wetapunga talk coming soon

Date posted: 05-Feb-2018

For the Social on 19 March the speaker will be Ben Goodwin of Auckland Zoo, who will talk about t..

Rat caught and now takahe released from pens

Date posted: 28-Jan-2018

Thankfully DOC staff Andre de Graaf and Polly Hall and their assistants have trapped the rat whic..

Your Christmas Shopping for a Song

Date posted: 04-Dec-2017

Aka - The Grand Christmas Shopping Expedition to Tiritiri Matangi Island Shop Dreading..


Botanical name:  Rhopalostylis sapida
Maori name:  Nikau
Common name:  Nikau Palm
Height:  10 metres

Nikau is the only native palm in NZ and is the southern most palm in the world. 

It is abundant in lowland forests in the North Island and appears as far south as Banks Peninsula. It is also present on the Chatham Islands. 

Nikau fronds are up to 3m long and consist of numerous narrow pointed leaflets up to 1m long.

The small pink flowers are unisexual, with both sexes bunched into a dense panicle called a spadix, which appears at the base of the fronds. Flowering occurs during summer. The red berries, formed from female flowers, take about a year to ripen.

Maori used the palm fronds for thatching dwellings and the leaflets as a lashing material. The growing tip of the plant is edible but its removal always leads to the plant’s demise.

Rhopalostylis is an endemic genus with 2 species. R. baueri is found on the Kermadec islands plus a small population on Norfolk Island. Work is still being done on the genus as the differences between the two species are minimal.

The easiest place to see nikau on Tiritiri is on the Wattle Track, at the low-lying damp area between the hihi feeder and the first water trough (when coming from the wharf). 


Photography by: Warren Brewer © (top right - nikau on the Wattle Track, and right - three stages of spadix development: flowers emerging, new flowers and fruit developing) and Kay Milton © (above - nikau flowers).