The story of Ancient Kauri

The story of Ancient Kauri

Kauri is a majestic tree king of the forest pursued and revered by ancient Maori mariners and the European explorers that followed.

Its deep hews and versatility proved hypnotic to both early Maori and European traders who cleared large swaths of this beautiful tree throughout the upper North Island.

Maori revered the Kauri and its strength by enshrining it in the creation story as Tane Mahuta as he separated Rangunui and Papatuanuku Sky father and earth mother creating the world we live in today.

Kauri is among the world's mightiest trees, growing to over 50 m tall, with trunk girths up to 16 m, and living for over 2000 years.

The Kauri in Maori mythology is the brother of the sperm whale, to this day both the whale is known as Tohorā and Kauri hold places of dignity and respect reserved for Taonga (treasures).

The story of the whale and the Kauri places trees and whales in their environments. The tohorā asked the kauri to return with him to the sea, but the kauri preferred the land. Tohorā then suggested they exchange skins, which they did. This is why the bark of the kauri is so thin, and as full of resin as the whale is of oil.

Kauri forests once covered 1.2 million ha from the Far North of Northland to Te Kauri, near Kawhia. With the arrival of European technology large swathes of land covered in Kauri were cleared through to the 1950's.

The largest kauri. Kairaru which grew in the Waipoua area at Tutamoe, was more than twice the size of the largest living kauri, Tāne Mahuta, with a trunk 20.1 metres in girth and 30.5 metres to the crown. Measured by wood content Kairaru would have been the largest tree on Earth, with around 1,500 cubic metres of timber in its trunk alone.

The timbers that are used at Kā-Uri are sustainably sourced swamp Kauri from the far north of Aotearoa New Zealand. The products are crafted from an ancient forest buried under Peat swamps by a natural disaster 45,000 years ago before the onset of the last ice age. This natural disaster left these great trees lying just beneath the surface of the ground. This underground resting place, sealed from the air became a perfectly balanced cocoon that preserved the timber in perfect condition. It is known to be the oldest workable wood in the world.

The only place Kauri grow is in Aotearoa New Zealand north of latitude 37 degrees south.


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