The Kōwhai Legend

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Leave a tribute message Kōwhai flower permanently on our Memory Tree. You can post a photo of your loved one and for a higher donation a Bee or a Tui will accompany the Kōwhai flower.



Kōwhai is the Maōri word for the colour yellow.

It is said that the Kōwhai sprung from the shreds of the cloak of tohunga Ngatoro-i-rangi of the Te Arawa waka, on its arrival to Aotearoa. 

The legend says that a young tohunga asks a girl to marry him while they sit under the bare branches of a Kōwhai tree in the month of August.

kowhai memory tree

She replies that she will only marry him if he can perform some brilliant act.

"I will show you what I can do. I will cause this tree to spring instantly into flower, before your eyes."

He uses all his powers and the tree bursts into bloom, his final touch causing a ring of yellow blossoms to appear around the dark hair of the girl.

Ever since, say Te Arawa, the Kōwhai has flowered on bare and leafless branches.

This aptly depicts the journey of people receiving palliative care. Their physical body may feel bare, but within, there is still life to be lived and shared with loved ones.

"Kua ura te ao te Kōwhai" means "the kindling of Kōwhai blazes". Our motto "Living Every Moment" raises awareness that hospice isn't only about the care of dying people in their dying moments, but more about helping people LIVE while they are dying.

Make a donation to the Kōwhai Memory Tree.