Introduced plants that find their footing along the south coast are by necessity equipped with features that make them survivors against the salty air, the desiccating wind, and so on. Hairs on leaves are such a feature - creating an effective protective coating.
The pictured leaves are covered with fine hairs which give them a velvety appearance and enhance their soft green which looks particularly lovely in the morning light. They belong to a mallow plant growing on the south coast. But what is its name?
My research leaves me a bit unsure - it looks very like the mallow which is a weed along Australia's coast, and was called Malva dendromorpha, but this name was preceded by Malva arborea and Lavatera arborea, and it could be Malva maritima. I guess all I can say is that it has the characteristic pretty flowers and upright growth and soft palmately lobed leaves of... shall I call it a tree mallow?
Whichever it is, this plant belongs to a family of plants with medicinal and culinary uses, and some forms are used in gardens. With its capacity for survival it has the qualities to be a notified weed, although it seems not to be listed as such for New Zealand - yet.
A backlit flower stem in bright sunlight shows the pretty pinkish purple mallow flower, purple buds and the hairy stem and leaves. This plant is growing beside Princess Bay, battered by the salty wind and looking quite undeterred.