15 Sep 2011

Japanese team's homage to Tane Mahuta

7:36 pm on 15 September 2011

The Japanese national rugby team and coach John Kirwan will take time out from the Rugby World Cup to pay a visit to Waipoua Forest's giant kauri, Tane Mahuta.

Japan - which is being hosted by Tai Tokerau - will play their next Rugby World Cup match against Tonga in Whangarei next week.

The team will be welcomed at a ceremony on Sunday on the lawns of the Copthorne Hotel overlooking the Hokianga harbour and, after a feast of crayfish and paua, will be taken to nearby Waipoua Forest to see the giant kauri trees, including the largest - Tane Mahuta.

The link between Japan and the kauri trees goes back to 2009, when officials signed the world's first Family of Ancient Trees agreement.

The union links Tane Mahuta with a giant cedar on Yakushima Island in Japan.