Historic photos of New Zealand’s Kauri wood bloom

When I was living in New Zealand, one of my favourite walks was just up the road, to one of Auckland’s many natural reserves. You only needed ten or fifteen minutes to get to the top of a small hill. On it, a beautiful Kauri tree solemnly awaited. The sight was impressive, a giant among its normal-sized fellow trees.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many Kauris left in New Zealand, at least compared to last century. Kauri trees were systematically cut down due to their amazing dark, uniform wood… and their impressive size. By 1920, for example, only 0,3% of the original Kauri forests in the North Island remained. You can still find some of the trunks when hiking around the country, they make for huge platforms.

I am a tree hugger, and I mean literally. I like spreading my arms around their gigantic waists and resting my cheek on their cold bark. Kauris are especially good for hugging, because their bark is quite soft, but I would have needed three meter arms to reach across, because these trees are HUGE. One of the biggest Kauris still standing has a girth of 16 metres, and is believed to be between 2000 and 3000 years old.

Kauris are a little difficult to photograph, because they are so big. The chopping of these beautiful giants was extremely sad, but the lengths these cutters had to go to were impressive. The majesty of the Kauri trees still shines through, and with some luck, we are finally beginning to learn how to respect nature and its many wonders.

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