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Fascinating New Zealand Kauri Trees

Updated on January 23, 2013
BlossomSB profile image

Bronwen has lived in, taught in, and visited a number of countries and loves to share these travel experiences with others.

The Magnificent Kauri Tree

The Trunk Stands Straight and Tall
The Trunk Stands Straight and Tall | Source

Northland in New Zealand's North Island

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Northland, New Zealand
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The Kauri of New Zealand

If ever you have the good fortune to visit New Zealand, do try and make time to see and enjoy the magnificent and unusual Kauri trees. They are true giants of the New Zealand forest and so interesting.

The kauri forest we visited is about ninety minutes' drive from Auckland in the Northland area of New Zealand's North Island. On the drive there lovely vistas of mountains and green pastures that are so enticing for the photographer kept opening up along the way. It's a wonder that we made it that far as so often we wanted to stop and enjoy the scenery!

The timber has a lovely grain and has been used for furniture making while the gum, or Kauri Resin, has also had, and still does have, a number of uses.

This Kauri Is Less Than Fifty Years' Old

Already this Kauri tree has a Wide Girth
Already this Kauri tree has a Wide Girth | Source

The Kauri Forest

We parked and it was well sign-posted at the entrance. The sign told us that the Te Matua Ngahere, a giant Kauri, could be reached after only a fifteen minutes' walk along well-made flat paths into the forest. The tree's Maori name means 'Father of the Forest' and it was. With a girth of 16.41 metres, it soared up to a total height of 29.9 metres. The trees are an unusual shape and the trunk finished at about 10.21 metres.

Delicate Roots

These ancient giants are very sensitive so walking off the paths and boardwalks is prohibited as the feeding roots of Kauri trees are shallow and delicate and the trees can be killed by people treading on them too much.

The sign telling us the information about the tree ended with the Maori words: Toitu te whenua, which was translated as 'Leave the land undisturbed.' What a great slogan!

The root shown in the photograph below is the stump from a small Kauri that had been in a swamp about a hundred kilometres away, near Auckland, for an estimated 1590 years.

Roots of the Kauri Tree
Roots of the Kauri Tree | Source

Kauri Resin

The kauri gum is also known as 'Kauri amber.' This fossilized resin of the Kauri tree has a surprising number of uses including chewing-gum and tattooing and it is also made into jewellery. With its lovely rich and varied colours, it is a 'must' for every amber collector. In the early days of European settlement of New Zealand there were even 'gum diggers' who hunted for the golden treasure.

The examples in the cabinet below show some of the true beauty of the Kauri Resin. This is just one of the many displays in the Northlands Heritage Museum.

Kauri Resin Display at the Northlands Heritage Museum

The 'Kauri Amber' colours' warm glow
The 'Kauri Amber' colours' warm glow | Source

Northland Heritage Museum

The Northland Heritage Museum is a drive of about an hour and a half from Auckland. It is situated in the west coast village of Makakohe and is a 'must' for anyone who has enjoyed the forest. We felt it was best to see the forest first and then the Museum.

It shows the early European pioneers' homes, their life-style as they worked with Kauri timber producing beautiful colonial furniture which still has great appeal to the connoisseur. It also contains the cabinets shown above that display the Kauri Resin.

There was so much of interest to see at the Museum that it was growing later in the afternoon. Just outside the Northland Heritage Museum we found the village notice-board. It contained advertisements for 'Bed and Breakfast' homes nearby, so we telephoned one and had a marvellous time. The family took us in as one of the family, even going with us for a drive to see some of the local sites of interest and the lovely views. For a little extra we joined the family for a delicious evening meal.

We wouldn't have missed this friendly corner of beautiful New Zealand for anything! It was a delightful stay and we were sorry when it was time to leave and move on.

Kauri Furniture of the New Zealand Colonial Era

The Golden Shades of Kauri Colonial Furniture
The Golden Shades of Kauri Colonial Furniture | Source


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    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      LadyFiddler: The blossoms are turning white! Yes, that furniture was really something. May God bless you, too.

    • LadyFiddler profile image

      Joanna Chandler 5 years ago from On planet Earth

      Hi blossom i hope you are still blossoming ;)

      The Kauri sure looks beautiful and interesting . I love the furniture that has been made from it.

      Thanks for sharing this lovely hub with us

      GOD bless your soul

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Jackie Lynnley and Marcia Ours: It is beautiful - wish I had some like that!

      flashmakeit: It is. I hope the foresters are caring for them well.

      Eiddwen: Eddy, thank you for your lovely comment. I had a great weekend and was too busy enjoying it to go to my computer until this morning.

      Dbro: Thank you for coming and sharing it with me!

    • Dbro profile image

      Dbro 5 years ago from Texas, USA

      Wonderful hub, BlossomSB! I feel like I'm there with you when you describe the wonderful trips you take. Thanks for sharing your experiences!

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 5 years ago from Wales

      Such a wonderful hub Blossom and as always you give it your all.

      Have a wonderful weekend.


    • flashmakeit profile image

      flashmakeit 5 years ago from usa

      That us a beautiful, useful and sensitive tree.

    • profile image

      Marcia Ours 5 years ago

      I love the furniture made from these tree's!

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 5 years ago from The Beautiful South

      I love the furniture, as beautiful as the trees. Thanks for the wonderful info.

    • BlossomSB profile image

      Bronwen Scott-Branagan 5 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Sushma Webber: As you live in NZ you probably know lots more than I do about these beautiful trees. Thank you for your comment.

      billybuc: It is beautiful timber and it smells good, too. One of my grandpas began his working life as a carpenter and he taught me to appreciate the grain of different woods - and their smells!

      carriethompson: It is a favourite place to visit for the British - I guess it's because it's about as far as one can go from there - and the scenery is so wonderful to photograph, too.

      shiningirisheyes: Our roots are important to most of us - and we don't like them being trodden on either! Great analogy.

      Lipnancy: The furniture just glows! That resin is very interesting, too.

      avainnovice: I've been wondering that, too, as the trees seem to grow quite quickly, but the furniture seems to be very durable.

      Roger Sanchez: They are!

      Frank Atanacio: A visit to New Zealand is both educational and entertaining, and therefore most enjoyable. Thank you again for your great comments.

      MsDora: I'm so glad you enjoyed the hub and thank you for your vote. I found so much of NZ really beautiful, although living on part of the 'Ring of Fire' must be scary sometimes.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 5 years ago from The Caribbean

      I like hubs like this which gives information and shows photos I would never read or see except on HubPages. Thanks for introducing me to the lovely Kauri trees of New Zealand. Voted Up and Beautiful.

    • Frank Atanacio profile image

      Frank Atanacio 5 years ago from Shelton

      Blossoms I enjoy sharing your hubs because if they do not educate they entertain this did both :)

    • RogerSanchezJr profile image

      Roger A Sanchez Jr 5 years ago from Sequoyah County of Oklahoma

      Beautiful trees!

    • aviannovice profile image

      Deb Hirt 5 years ago from Stillwater, OK

      What a wonderful, huge tree. It is nice to see such large trees standing, in these times. The roots are magnificent, as is the amber. Are these hardwoods?

    • Lipnancy profile image

      Nancy Yager 5 years ago from Hamburg, New York

      Interesting to see the trees and then the beautiful furniture that the make.

    • shiningirisheyes profile image

      Shining Irish Eyes 5 years ago from Upstate, New York

      Stunning items of beauty from the reservoirs of these trees. This is the first I have heard of them and I found it very interesting. Their roots are as obvious as mine! LOL

    • carriethomson profile image

      carriethomson 5 years ago from United Kingdom

      This is one of my favorite place and i will surely visit new zealand , an explore the place fully. Hope friends i will be able to go to new zealand. Friends do give good luck.


    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I had never heard of these trees until five minutes ago. Fascinating specimens; the grain of that wood in the furniture is beautiful. Thank you for the education.

    • Sushma Webber profile image

      Sushma Webber 5 years ago from New Zealand

      Hi Blossom, great article and awesome photos. Good to know more about the amazing Kauri trees.