The species at present known as Metrosideros elegans was the basis for Ballardia Montr., Mem. Acad. Lyon 10 (1860) 204. The later described species of the M. elegans group were placed in Metrosideros Banks ex Gaertn., Fruct. I (1788) 170, t. 34, and Beauvisage (1901) finally sank Ballardia in Metrosideros when he combined B. elegans Montr., Mem. Acad. Lyon 10 (1860) 205, with M. laurifolia var. minor Br. et Gris, Bull. Bot. Soc. Fr. 12 (1865) 300 under the binomial Metrosideros elegans. The group has remained in Metrosideros since that time. So far as is known the group is restricted to New Caledonia. The species may occur at quite low elevations, but are most common between about 300 and 1,500 metres altitude in forest or shrubland.