Fascinating New Zealand Kauri Trees
The Magnificent Kauri Tree
Northland in New Zealand's North Island
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
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.
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.
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
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
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