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The Fred Naden Tree or “Freddie’s Pōhutukawa”

The Fred Naden Tree or “Freddie’s Pōhutukawa”


Tokomaru Bay, Te Tairāwhiti Gisborne

Nominated by:

Billie and Joseph Naden

Photo Credit:

Naden Family Records

NZ Tree Register Number:


The New Zealand Tree Register (NZTR) holds detailed information on notable trees in New Zealand.

The story of The Fred Naden Tree – simply called “Freddie’s Pōhutukawa” by his family – is one of war and homecoming. As the family story goes, in 1906 young Frederick Nehu Naden spotted three pōhutukawa (Metrosideros excelsa) seedlings growing in the sandy cliff near The Gap, at the northern end of Tokomaru Bay. With the help of his mother, he tenderly replanted each seedling – with just one later surviving – painstakingly nurturing them and caring for them during school holidays. When Freddie left to fight in Europe during the First World War as a messenger runner with the Auckland Regiment, it could have been his last goodbye to his family, home and pōhutukawa. But, despite being wounded in Belgium, Freddie returned and vowed to his tree he would never leave his home again which – barring two years stationed elsewhere in New Zealand for the Royal New Zealand Air Force – he didn’t until his passing in 1950 at the age of just 51. Today, the sprawling Fred Naden Tree is a well-known local landmark, flowering every summer and bringing pleasure and beauty to residents of Freddie’s beloved Tokomaru Bay.

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