Aotearoa New Zealand

New Zealand flora is characterised by a high degree of endemism, with over 80% of species found only in New Zealand. This Collection is lush with unusual forms and textures; a little pocket of exotic rainforest in the heart of Melbourne. The species in this Collection are vulnerable to Melbourne's future climate, so the ongoing performance of these plants aids in research and conservation programs in New Zealand.

The Collection supports:

  • Research and monitoring of plant performance to bolster conservation and science programs in New Zealand.
  • Greater understanding of the considerable endemism of New Zealand plant evolution.
  • Excellent species and specimens for science and research purposes.

Key Plants

Podocarpus totara


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Cordyline australis

Ti, Cabbage Tree

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Phormium tenax


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Metrosideros carminea


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Clianthus puniceus albus

Tairawhiti Ngutukaka - East Coast Kaka beak

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Rhopalostylis sapida


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<em>Podocarpus totara</em>


A majestic forest giant whose attributes of strength, durability and rot-resistance were prized alike by Maori and European settlers (Pakeha) for diverse items and purposes.

Notes from the Curator

The plants in the New Zealand Collection display considerable foliage diversity, beauty and botanical quirks such as heteroblasty (changes from juvenile to adult foliage) and divarication (branching at wide angles). By using this collection as a time machine and proxy for New Zealand's future climate, Melbourne Gardens provides valuable insight regarding the impact of climate change on New Zealand's native flora.

Plant: Phormium cookianum.