Swamp Kauri History
Swamp Kauri/Ancient Kauri is milled from Kauri trees that have been buried & preserved in peat swamps for between 800-60,000 years. Most swamp Kauri is found in Northland but some has reached as far as Waikato.
Now, many of Northlands kauri sinks (the sites of buried, preserved kauri) are covered by farmland and is illegal to extract.
Creating Swamp Kauri
Our beautiful Native kauri is best grown in moist ground. The more they age, the more dense & heavier the wood becomes - this weight can of course, cause them to slowly sink into the ground.
In order for the swamp kauri to be perfectly preserved the way it has, for as long as it has, there a specific steps to be met:
- The kauri tree has to be fully sealed from oxygen exposure as oxygen is required for decomposition.
- The ground surrounding the trees had to be moist enough to allow the fallen kauri trees to sink.
FUN FACT Kauri can grow up to 800m, above our sea level!
We have found that there is no single set of conditions that produced our rare swamp kauri. The landscape, environment and geology of the places we have located swamp kauri vary hugely. The most common and known preservation environments are peat swamps & lowland bogs. Other interesting locations known to preserve kauri are:
- Hilly areas where landslides have occurred and toppled over top of kauri.
- Ancient lakes
- Infilled volcanic craters
- Coastal sand dunes
- Dry river beds
Cultural & heritage values
New Zealanders absolutely adore swamp kauri for it's magnificent age, the beautiful appearance and it's rarity. The environments swamp kauri is found in, hold immense value, as these places often hold delicate heritage and historical values - especially for Aotearoa, New Zealand.
With swamp kauri, there has been tension between the values people place within the timber, & the value people place in the surrounding environments. There can be potential for damage to not only the archaeological but environment values of the land when the swamp kauri is extracted.
Many reports have made multiple recommendations to manage this tension and keep everyone happy. The Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) will continue to have discussions around these recommendations with Northlands regional & district councils, swamp kauri operators & other interested companies or groups.