Kauri is lord of the rings

Tāne Mahuta: Lord of the forest

The most famous tree in New Zealand is Tāne Mahuta, a giant Kauri tree in the Waipoua Forest of Northland Region, New Zealand, that is between 1,250  and 2,500 years old.

It’s pretty old, although in the scale of old trees it ranks about middle aged.

The oldest (non-cloning) tree in the world is Methuselah in California, United States, at around 4,800 years. It gained the title as the oldest tree when a scientist cut down Prometheus, a 5,000 plus year old pine from Nevada for “research” in 1964. For now obvious reasons the exact location of the now-oldest known tree, Methuselah, is kept secret by the US Forest Service.

But I digress.

Tāne Mahuta deserves the meaning of its name ‘Lord of the forest’ with a trunk girth of 13.77 m (45.18 ft), trunk height 17.68 m (58 ft), and a  total height 51.2 m (167.98 ft.

It’s a remnant of an ancient subtropical rainforest which once grew on the peninsula. On New Zealand’s North Island a forest of ancient Kauri trees can be found buried and preserved under peat some 50,000 years after an unexplained natural event at the end of the last Ice Age flattened them.

These ancient Kauri (or swamp Kauri) trees, some which grew for nearly 2000 years before they were buried, have been perfectly preserved by the peat and the timber is a  rich, deep brown.

Swamp Kauri is extracted (no easy task these trees are huge!) and reclaimed, often finding its way to furniture makers, boat builders, and the wood artisans who make nick-knack souvenirs and household kitsch as well as the ones who do fierce guitar bodies. 

What's the best Kauri item you have found on your New Zealand working holiday adventures? Let us know in the comments!