New Zealand’s subtropical north island similar to Hawaii

Native Nikau palms or Rhopalostylis sapida are used in many home gardens, commercial landscapes and roadside plantings along with New Zealand Flax and Cabbage trees. (Photo courtesy / Voltaire Moise)

On returning from New Zealand after a month of exploring, it was difficult not to compare it with Hawaii. Many plants that thrive there also do well here. Their famous native Pohutukawa, or Metrosideros excelsa, is closely related to our ohia or Metrosideros polymorpha. Their native forests are abound with tree ferns much like our Hapu’u. Culturally, the European presence combined with the Polynesian Maori has created a society somewhat similar to Hawaii, at least superficially. Their kia ora is a bit like our aloha as a word used for greeting, but aloha seems to encompass a much deeper and spiritual meaning. However it is expressed, we were constantly aware of the warm and friendly manner of New Zealanders that reflected our concept of aloha. Kiwi and Maori are super friendly. By the way, depending on with whom you talk, some Maori consider themselves Kiwi and some make the distinction that they are Maori and the term Kiwi refers to folks with a European background.