The Meaning of Trees began life as a blog with a goal to present New Zealand’s native plants like characters from a history book – each with their own story to tell. The blog has been made into a best-selling book by Harper Collins Publishers and was selected as one of the best books of 2019 by The Listener, New Zealand Herald and Newsroom.
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
“The Meaning of Trees…is a treasure trove of such rich descriptions and stories of our native trees, shrubs and and other plants such as vines, flax, bracken and even bull kelp. The book rewards repeated reading, and dipping into, as each time something new stands out, a whakataukī, a legend, or maybe where it got its name…”
– Gillian Candler, Author.
“The Meaning of Trees is a personal exploration of Robert Vennell’s relationship with, and love of, plants. The preface gives a taste of the depth of his knowledge and the rest of the book is a testament to his passion.”
– ReadNZ, Te Pou Muramura