North of Auckland, signs promoting kauri forest treks, dams, museums, and galleries abound. What’s the fascination with New Zealand’s kauri tree? What made one plant so powerful?
Kauri trees are some of the world’s oldest and largest, thus they’re “massive.” The Kauri once covered most of Northland and was a big draw for European settlers.
New Zealanders recognize the importance of preserving the surviving kauri forests. Backpackers can help with several things while hiking.
10 Best Locations to See Kauri Forest
- Waipoua Forest, Kauri . Coast
- Trounson Kauri Park , Kauri Coast
- Puketi Forest , Islands Bay
- AH Reed Kauri Park, Whangarei
- Male Ocean Walkway, Tutukaka Coast
- Kauri Cove, Coromandel
- Twin Kauri Scenic Reserve, Coromandel
- Cascade Kauri Regional Park, Auckland [Update: tracks in Cascade Kauri Park are closed to protect kauri].
- Great Barrier Forest, Great Barrier Island
- Hunua Range, Auckland
Size, age of Kauri
Big! Kauri tree trunks can reach 2 meters (6.5 feet) in diameter, making you look little. Te Matua Ngahere in Waipoua Forest has a 4-meter diameter (13 feet). Tane Mahuta (Lord of the Forest) is the largest kauri tree in New Zealand at 244.5 square meters. 2,632 ft2). Waipoua Forest is included in 10 Opononi & Omapere Highlights.
Kauri grew well. They can live 1,000 years. Te Matua Ngahere is 2,500-3,000 years old.
“Kauri woodland” doesn’t indicate the whole forest is Kauri. A few kauri trees tower tall above rimu, nikau palms, and tree ferns, making for a pleasant ramble through the woods.
This means that if you stroll through the kauri forest, you may have to trek a ways to find the Kauri. The kauri trails are well-marked. Boardwalks help identify Kauri and protect it from disease.
Maori utilize Kauri
Kauri were hunted for a variety of causes throughout New Zealand’s history.
Maori used Kauri to light fires and heal ailments. Burnt gum soot is tattoo ink. When a famous person dies, the Maori say, “kua hinga te kauri o te wao nui a Tane,” which means “kauri fell in the sacred forest of Tane.” The buoyancy of the timber was perfect for Maori waka (canoes).
EU utilizes Kauri
First-generation Europeans in New Zealand used Kauri for shipbuilding. By mid-1840, timber trading and shipbuilding facilities were developed across the North Island. The Maori traded Kauri for European commodities, which led to the Musket Wars in New Zealand. Maori History in New Zealand explains.
Kauri’s industry has risen considerably since 1840. Northland’s marshes are mined for kauri gum, used as varnish and linoleum. Northern areas have sawmills and logging. Mountain logging is a perilous job. Loggers (dusters) had to place logs in a creek and wait for a flood to wash them down to the sawmill. By the 1850s, they had built dams from felled Kauri to wash logs downstream. 3000 kauri dams exist. Few existing kauri dams are historical landmarks.
Tramways replaced kauri dams, which destroyed 30-40% of the wood.
Kauri covered Northland, Auckland, and the Coromandel before humans arrived. The north would appear different. Huge kauri forests were exploited or destroyed and replaced with cropland. 100 years changed the scene.
In 1985, native tree harvesting ended.
Today, the last remaining forest sections are being preserved to maintain the kauri forest ecosystem and all its species. New Zealanders and visitors enjoy to adopt a loving approach and admire the tree’s beauty.
New threats could diminish kauri numbers.