Wanaka: That (Instagram) Tree Again


2014: THE tree in Wanaka, New Zealand

When I moved to New Zealand in 2011, for me, Wanaka was all about Skydiving. Now, 3 years later, Wanaka is all about “the lone tree”.

This image shift started on social networks, most notably on Instagram. Filtering by hashtag #GigaTownWanaka, I came across the same idyllic, picturesque, maybe even romantic scenery again and again – a single tree in the middle of a lake. That tree clearly had its followership!

But that’s not the whole story. That tree has its own hashtag! There are currently hundreds of photos tagged with #ThatTreeAgain.


2014: #ThatTreeAgain, Lake Wanaka, New Zealand

And as if this wasn’t enough, THE tree also has a name thanks to Instagram. True story! I found several Instagram photos of the lone tree captioned with “Hinemoa, Lake Wanaka”. My first reflex was to ask Google about the background story of Hinemoa. But Google didn’t know! (Also a true story!!)

So I asked a New Zealand photographer who has taken stunning photos of “Hinemoa, Lake Wanaka”. To my surprise he couldn’t tell me where he heard the name first or where it came from. But he referred me to @fi_austin.

Fiona (@fi_austin) used to post heaps of photos of #ThatTreeAgain (on her former account @haweachick). She told me, back then she has been regularly asked if the lone tree had a name. And somehow it was a pity it didn’t. So when a friend of hers stumbled across the Maori legend of Hinemoa, also known as the Lady of the Lake, Fiona started to refer to the tree as a “she” and gave her the name Hinemoa – on Instagram. The name stuck!

Working in Social Media, for me it’s the perfect example of how rumours can go viral on any network without having real control. And now, thanks to my blog post, Google also knows. The tree is only a heartbeat away from immortal fame ;)

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2011: My very first photo ever of Hinemoa, Lake Wanaka