Thanks for listening!

Recently I sent an email to the folks that run the National Arboretum here in Canberra

Good afternoon,

My family are kiwis living in Canberra. We have twice been to get photos of our baby daughter taken with the Kauri tree planted by Prime Minister John Key.

Our plan is to take a photo each year showing the Kauri and our daughter both growing up in the ACT.

Both times we have been no one is able to tell us where the tree is exactly.

I would have assumed important trees would be marked on a map and also have a plaque, but clearly not. This is pretty disappointing.

Are you able to please give some guidance?


I was hoping to get some sort of indicator from the folks of the Arboretum on where to find ‘John Keys Tree’, here is the response I received a few days later

Hello xxxx,

Your email has been sent to me. First of all, my apologies for our lack of signage in some parts of the site. The Ceremonial Tree Plantings in the Central Valley are one of the areas we need to provide more information about. You are right, clearly labelled plaques would help. Better maps and signage for the trees in the Central Valley is planned, please be assured. In the meantime, I have moved the information about the Ceremonial Tree Plantings so it might be a bit easier to find – perhaps you have already seen the information and photos on the Arboretum’s website at:

Have you tried to find the tree in the Central Valley, and couldn’t, or no-one directed you to the Central Valley for the Ceremonial Trees? You may already know that the Central valley is that huge zig zag that stretches from the main entrance right up to the Village Centre, and the trees are planted in the patches of ground in the zig zag area, near the Village Centre.

I looked at our map of the Tree Plantings in the Central Valley and found the kauri you are referring to, I think, planted by PM John Key on 20 August 2009. On the attached technical drawing, the kauri is near the top of Central Valley, closest to the Village Centre, about 8th or 9th tree down – can you see it on the version of the map? I have made the attachment low resolution so I didn’t overload you with a large file – the original is 20 Mbs. Please let me know if you can’t see it and I’ll send you a higher resolution map.

An easier way to find the kauri might be to contact xxx who works here and is in charge of the Ceremonial Tree Plantings. It may be before her time at the Arboretum, as well as mine, but she would probably be able to direct you to the right tree – she knows all the plantings. Her work phone number is xxx, email:  She only works Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday but perhaps you could arrange a time to visit the Arboretum when xxx is here and she can help you find the tree for sure. She is recovering from a knee injury and so won’t be able to walk with you the whole way, but she can direct you from the North Deck to make sure you find the right tree.

You may be interested to know there are other trees from NZ in the Arboretum – this information is now on our website at:

Austral   New Zealand Agathis australis (C. Valley & Trial Lot)Podocarpus totara

Pseudopanax ferox

Sophora microphylla   


New Zealand Lancewood


I hope this helps, and please contact me if you need any further information.


What a great and helpful response!

So thanks guys, appreciate the comprehensive email back, I look forward to getting a photo of our bubba with the tree. John, if you are in town any time, we could get a photo with you, the tree and my daughter?



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