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The Meaning of Trees

$56.00 NZD

The Meaning of Trees tells the story of plants and people in New Zealand. A guide and gift book in equal measure, this treasure of a book pays homage to our Aotearoa's native plant species.


Beautifully illustrated with botanical drawings, paintings and photographs, this book shows how a globally unique flora has been used for food, medicine, shelter, spirituality and science. From Jurassic giants to botanical oddballs - The Meaning of Trees showcases our wonderful native plants in an exquisite hardback edition.


  • Written by Robert Vennell
  • 256 pages
  • Hardcover book
  • First published April 2019
  • ISBN: 9781775541301


Praise for The Meaning of Trees:


'Robert Vennell makes wandering through our bush seem like a visit to a giant shopping centre. Over there is the kawakawa store, offering everything from an aphrodisiac to a gonorrhoea cure. Next door is the tutu cafe, where you can enjoy delicious wine or a refreshing laxative (though the seeds are deadly). On the top floor is the matai bar, where the berries aren't to everyone's taste, but the bushman's beer is great. And round the corner is the miro health centre. Every plant has a story and the result is delightfully informative.' -  Jim Eagles, Canvas


Robert Vennell lives, breathes and eats the New Zealand forest. He is the author of The Meaning of Trees, a history of New Zealand's plants and people. He works as a Collection Manager in the Natural Science department at Auckland Museum - Tamaki Paenga Hira, collecting and preparing specimens for the natural science galleries. His background is in ecology and he has spent many hours wandering through the bush studying wild pigs and their impact on native flora and fauna.


This product is also available for purchase in store at Wellington Museum.