M. A. Clem. et al., 1997
Winika is a monotypic genus of epiphytic orchids that is endemic to New Zealand, commonly found growing in rainforest in the North, South, Stewart and Chatham Islands. It normally flowers in summer and early autumn. Its common names are winika, pekapeka, christmas orchid, bamboo orchid (owing to the bamboo / reed-like stems).
History of taxonomy
W. cunninghamii was first discovered and catalogued by Solander as Epidendrum pendulum. Subsequently it was recatalogued as Dendrobium cunninghamii and stayed that way until M. A. Clements removed it to form Winika cunninghamii.
To quote the authors;
"Winika is the accepted old Māori name for this orchid. The name Te Winika was given to the sacred war canoe of the Tainui people because this orchid grew on the tōtara tree (Podocarpus totara) which was hollowed out to form the hull (Moore & Irwin, 1978). We assign the feminine gender to it—Winika cunninghamii. The Māori Queen, Te Arikinui Dame Te Atairangikaahu, granted consent to use the name Winika, because of its particular cultural significance to her Tainui people".
In contemporary New Zealand culture
In 1990, New Zealand Post released a New Zealand native orchid miniature sheet to support of the New Zealand 1990 World Stamp Exhibition held in Auckland. Winika was one of the stamps (40c) on the miniature sheet. The others were the sun orchid (Thelymitra pulchella), spider orchid (Corybas macranthus), greenhood orchid (Pterostylis banksii) and odd leaved orchid (Aporostylis bifolia).
- Clements MA, Jones DL, Molloy BPJ. 1997. Winika, a new monotypic genus for the New Zealand orchid previously known as Dendrobium cunninghamii Lindl. Orchadian 12. (5): 214-220 (1997)