Te Matua Ngahere, a giant kauri tree growing in Waipoua Forest, Northland, New Zealand
© Kim Westerskov/Getty Image
50 years of Earth Day
For Mother Earth’s big day, we’re shining the spotlight on a tree known as Father of the Forest, or Te Matua Ngahere in the Maori language. This giant kauri tree lives in the Waipou Rainforest of New Zealand’s North Island. At more than 1,500 years old, and more than 15 metres around, it’s both one of the oldest trees in New Zealand and one of the largest. It's long been revered by the Maori and is protected by Maori elders.
We suspect this ancient tree must have some extra bounce in its branches today for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, which started in the US but has since spread worldwide. On this day in 1970, some 20 million Americans rallied to raise awareness of environmental issues. The landmark event is credited for prompting the most comprehensive environmental reform legislation in US history in the 1970s, including the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency. Earth Day is now celebrated in nearly 200 countries and has grown to include Earth Week, and even Earth Month celebrations. That’s all good news for Earth’s residents, big and small.