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November 2017 Issue
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Kahikatea kingdom

The entrance to White Pine Bush. Photo: Neil Robert Hutton
This entry is part 9 of 18 in the series Ranger Secrets

White Pine Bush Scenic Reserve, Bay of Plenty

Ranger: Bridget Palmer, Whakatane

Visiting White Pine Bush reserve is like “stepping back in time”, says Whakatane community ranger Bridget Palmer.

Located between Awakeri and Taneatua on SH2, the 4.5ha reserve has the only remaining mature kahikatea (white pine) on the Rangitaiki Plains, Palmer says.

The trees tower nearly 30m above a wheelchair accessible track and are a reminder of what early Maori and Pakeha settlers must have first encountered in the Bay of Plenty.

“The first time I set foot in White Pine Bush I was blown away by the abundance of life all around me,” Palmer says. “Tui and bellbird, driven into a frenzy by the delicious sweet orange fruits of the kahikatea, swooped from limb to limb, their calls echoing through the bush.

“Nikau palms, pukatea, tawa, and supplejack all vied for rays of light streaming in from the cathedral-like canopy above.”

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