“I’m dreaming of a red Christmas…“
It is in December that the New Zealand Christmas tree, the Pohutukawa, blooms crimson. New Zealand is located in the southern hemisphere making Christmas a holiday during the summer season. The Pohutukawa whose botanical name is Metrosideros excelsa has special meaning for all New Zealanders, both Tangata whenua and Pakeha.
Tangata whenua – “People of the land”; the Indigenous Maori population of New Zealand.
The Pohutukawa is mentioned in legends and lore. Also the “leaping off place” in Cape Reinga.
Pakeha – The non-Maori New Zealanders, often of European descent.
The Pohutukawa symbolizes Christmas and home.
New Zealand is a great destination for Christmas but quite expensive. If you plan to go at this time, book early and try to arrive prior to mid-December. This is the time when school’s out for summer and the busy holiday season gets underway.