Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

New Zealand: Manginangina

with 37 comments

A year ago today in New Zealand’s Northland we visited the Manginangina Scenic Reserve, which is a good place to see the native bush that once covered much of the country.

Behold the distinctive branches of a young rimu tree (Dacrydium cupressinum):

As a photographer fond of abstractions, I particularly enjoyed the self- and lichen-mottled bark of a kauri tree (Agathis australis).

© 2018 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

February 15, 2018 at 4:46 AM

37 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. The NZ forests always look very primeval, as well as lovely.
    The tree bark in the last shot resembles a sidewalk covered with confetti – I read a bit about the kauri tree – I guess it’s celebrating its survival for millions and millions of years. The article said the exfoliation is a defense against parasitic plants.

    Robert Parker

    February 15, 2018 at 5:37 AM

  2. The images depicting the textures in images #3 and #4 are beautiful.
    The Rimu tree’s leaves remind me a bit of those of the Norfolk pine’s, except they are droopy while those of the Norfolk’s are bit more rigid:

    They seem bristly anyway. The Norfolk’s leaves are droopy when young but get more stiff as the tree matures. They are from a different family though.


    February 15, 2018 at 8:16 AM

    • In case you weren’t able to see the other link, here’s another one:


      February 15, 2018 at 8:20 AM

    • There are scads of Norfolk pines in New Zealand. They’re not native there, but I imagine more Norfolk pines now grow in New Zealand than in any other country.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 15, 2018 at 8:41 AM

      • It’s interesting that one species of tree that did well in Galveston through both Ike and Harvey were the Norfolk pines. When I looked at their wiki page, I saw that they tolerate both salt and wind rather well. That explains their resilience here.


        February 17, 2018 at 8:04 AM

        • I see from the article at


          that the largest city in the Territory of Norfolk Island is Burnt Pine. I also see the Norfolk pine, which isn’t a true pine, figures on the territorial flag. I imagine the fact that the island is small means the trees evolved close to salt water and with lots of wind.

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 17, 2018 at 8:17 AM

  3. Beautiful!


    February 15, 2018 at 8:58 AM

    • It seems tropical yet it’s not in the tropics (though it is pretty far north in New Zealand).

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 15, 2018 at 9:14 AM

  4. The second image looks so prehistoric. So many shades of green. And I like your abstract.


    February 15, 2018 at 10:36 AM

    • I’m glad you mentioned the prehistoric feel in the second image, with so many shades of green.

      As for the latter: better a subject that’s abstracted than a photographer who’s distracted.

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 15, 2018 at 10:47 AM

  5. Love the Rimu and the Kauri trees. The kauri bark is very special. Thank you for posting again!
    We walked for hours and hours among them. One of the best moments throughout our whole month in NZ.https://lagottocattleya.wordpress.com/2016/11/27/travel-theme-forest/ Tane Mahuta and Te Matua Ngahere – majestic!


    February 15, 2018 at 1:44 PM

    • The kauri bark was my favorite tree bark in New Zealand: so textured and photogenic.

      It’s been a year, so on February 7th I began a post a day commemorating our New Zealand trip with some of the many pictures I wasn’t able to squeeze in last year. There’ll be a month’s worth in all.

      In the 2017 sequence I showed Tane Mahuta, so it won’t appear in the new round. Here it was:


      Steve Schwartzman

      February 15, 2018 at 1:57 PM

      • Thank you for the link! It is beautiful, isn’t it, this giant. The South Island – the forest was quite close to Milford Sound, on your right hand side when you are heading back towards Queenstown. If I remember it right …


        February 15, 2018 at 2:32 PM

        • I remember that that road was scenic, especially near the tunnel. There were so many places that warranted exploring in their own right, if only there had been more time. One can only do so much.

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 15, 2018 at 3:24 PM

          • Yes, there is so much to see and explore – I guess you have to stay for years – or return – and still there would be more to see.


            February 15, 2018 at 3:29 PM

            • I’m glad we made it twice. Don’t know if we’ll return, given the many other places in the world we haven’t yet been to at all.

              Steve Schwartzman

              February 15, 2018 at 3:33 PM

              • We will probably never make a return journey for similar reasons – and my old parents. Where in the world are you?


                February 15, 2018 at 3:36 PM

                • I’m in Austin, Texas, USA. I’ve showed a lot of travel photos in the last two years but the core of this blog is native plants (and some animals) found in central Texas.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  February 15, 2018 at 9:26 PM

                • Love your plants as well. Thank you for being here!


                  February 15, 2018 at 11:54 PM

                • You’re welcome.

                  Steve Schwartzman

                  February 16, 2018 at 6:22 AM

        • I wonder if the place where you stopped might have been Mirror Lakes, which is on the side of the highway that you indicated. Many people stopped there to walk in the woods and see the lakes.

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 15, 2018 at 3:31 PM

  6. Someone in town recommended the kauri tree as a street tree simply because he saw it there and liked it. (He might have seen it in Australia.) Not only is it not available, but I did not know enough about it to actually use it. When I studied it more, I found that it would have been a very bad choice for our application.


    February 16, 2018 at 11:35 PM

  7. The first two photos remind me of the one place in Texas where I’ve found that palpably green atmosphere: Palmetto State Park. There’s something about the light in such a place that almost seems “thick,” if that makes any sense. It was often the same in the Liberian bush, where light and shadow seemed to dissolve into color.


    February 17, 2018 at 8:11 AM

    • Good of you to make the connection to Palmetto State Park, which is about as “tropical” a place as one can get to in an hour’s drive from Austin. You may or may not be surprised that palmettos grow natively in Travis County. I just checked the USDA map and found the species marked as far inland as Gillespie County.

      You’ve often mentioned Liberia. Have you contemplated a return visit, or are you content to let it live in your mind as you remember it?

      Steve Schwartzman

      February 17, 2018 at 8:25 AM

      • My stint there ended in 1977, but I did go back in 1984 for six weeks. Even then, things had changed considerably because of the 1980 coup. One of my first experiences when I returned was being stopped and ordered out of a taxi by ragtag soldiers with weapons and an attitude. That’ll focus your attention.

        Since that visit, a horrendous civil war and Ebola outbreak have changed things again. The hospital where I worked is up and running, but several people I knew there are in the States now. Some plan to go back; some don’t. The country they knew is gone forever, too.


        February 17, 2018 at 8:53 AM

        • Yes, I knew about some of the deterrents to your going back. The Wikipedia article on Liberia notes that “When dealing with public-facing government functionaries 89% of Liberians say they have had to pay a bribe, the highest national percentage in the world according to the…2010 Global Corruption Barometer.”

          Liberia could use a liberation.

          Steve Schwartzman

          February 17, 2018 at 9:03 AM

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: