Kaikomako Manawatāwhi

About this project

This project will develop a restoration and repatriation plan for Kaikōmako on Manawatāwhi back to the island.

About this taonga

Rākau Mokemoke  (Lonely Tree) is the name of the last living Manawatāwhi kaikōmako on our island. As a potential food supply in the unlucky event of shipwreck, four goats were released, and flourished, on Manawatāwhi (Great Island, Three Kings Islands Group) in 1889.

Manawtāwhi had its vegetation, and its mana, devastated by the arrival of the alien browsing mammals. Only one plant of the tree Kaikōmako Manawatāwhi (Pennantia baylisiana), a female, survived this onslaught. For a time it achieved fame in the western world’s Guiness Book of Records as the “Rarest Tree in the World”.  Over decades Ngati Kuri has worked toward restoration of the island we developed relationships scientists , that have helped is to have return of over 240 seed progeny of this “ Rakau Mokemoke”, to our rohe on the mainland.  Biosecurity concerns regarding possible accidental transfer of exotic ants, skinks, or pathogenic fungi with the young plants were all addressed by mitigating actions developed by science. Strengthening connections were developed through mutual planning and tikanga. 

Ngāti Kuri Kuri living in Auckland were hosted on the Manaaki Whenua-Landcare Research site at Tāmaki, to meet the uri mokopuna saplings, before the plants’ departure for the Far North. Tamariki at Ngātaki helped with planting the young trees – of similar age to themselves.  We now set our sights on returning these and other mokopuna plants back to be with their Nanny  Rakau Mokemoke because we know that Grandmothers should never be alone. Kaikomako is our fire tree and one that helped us to maintain living on our island.

Mātauranga Māori and science has helped save this taonga from the brink of extinction.

Kaikomako Manawātawhi

project sponsor

Sponsor Contact : Peter Bellingham

Email: Peter Bellingham


Justice Hetaraka

Ngati Wai, Kai Tahu


Chelsea Brown

Ngāti Kuri, Uri of Te Ngake

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