Dacrycarpus dacrydioides or kahikatea (from its name in the Māori language) is a coniferous tree endemic to New Zealand.
The tree grows to a height of 55 metres (180 ft) with a trunk exceeding 1 metre (3 ft) in diameter, and is buttressed at the base. It is dominant in lowland forest and wetlands throughout the North and South Islands.Trees can live for at least 600 years. The leaves are spirally arranged; on young plants, they are awl-shaped, 3 to 8 mm long, and twisted at the base to lie spread to the sides of the shoot in a flat plane; on mature trees, they are scale-like, 1 to 3 mm long, and placed all round the shoot. The cones are highly modified, with the cone scales swelling at maturity into an orange to red, fleshy, aril with a single apical seed 3 to 5 mm in diameter. The seeds are dispersed by birds, which eat the fleshy scale and pass the seeds in their droppings.
Before extensive logging, trees of 80 m height were known. A specimen in Pirongia Forest Park in the Waikato region is the tallest native tree in New Zealand at 66.5 metres (218 ft)
Kahikatea was used for boat building up until the 1970s because of its long straight lengths. When 12% dry it is slightly lighter in weight than Kauri and white in colour. Kahikatea was also used as late as the 1980s to carve out waka, traditional vessels for Maori, in which they competed in various watersports in Kaituna Wetlands.
For Māori, the kahikatea has many uses. The fleshy aril or koroi is an important food resource, and served at feasts in great amounts. The wood is also favoured for making bird spears. Soot obtained from burning the heartwood supplied a pigment for traditional tattooing