There is growing interest in the use of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) for ecological restoration. Numerous commercial AMF products are now available and are often used in preference to collecting indigenous AMF in treating restoration plants. Commercial AMF products are typically based on AMF strains exotic to the plant species and locations where they are used. We treated rooted cuttings of an endemic New Zealand tree species (Podocarpus cunninghamii) and an exotic and invasive grass (Agrostis capillaris) with an indigenous, pot-cultured AMF (Acaulospora laevis) and an exotic commercial AMF product (Glomus spp.). P. cunninghamii was grown in monoculture and together with A. capillaris, the latter to simulate field competition that often occurs in restoration plantings. In monoculture, the indigenous AMF resulted in significant increases in P. cunninghamii growth rates and tissue concentrations of both nitrogen and phosphorus. The commercial AMF had either no effect or a negative effect on P. cunninghamii growth and nutrient levels. A. capillaris growth and nutrient status were unaffected by the different AMF treatments. Competition eliminated any AMF benefit for P. cunninghamii. The results show that, for our chosen indigenous woody plant species, the commercially available AMF did not improve its early growth and nutrient acquisition in monoculture while, over the same period, the indigenous AMF induced positive growth and nutrient responses. These results have potential implications for forest restoration, particularly for nursery production of indigenous woody species.