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Forum topic by JR_Dog posted 09-16-2013 01:00 PM 1225 views 0 times favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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526 posts in 2856 days

09-16-2013 01:00 PM

I’ve recently purchased some Ancient Kauri which is the oldest known workable wood species known. It’s being excavated from old swamp beds from New Zealand. I am not much of a history buff so I was wondering if anyone out there might have some interesting facts about what the Earth was like and what these trees may have been exposed to and/or what used to land in their limbs and climb them when they stood 40,000 to 50,000 years ago.


8 replies so far

View GrandpaLen's profile


1652 posts in 2808 days

#1 posted 09-16-2013 02:52 PM

...hmmm, mosquitoes no doubt, judging by their excavated location, but that’s just a guess. ;-)

I’ve often seen pictures of mosquitoes that were trapped in Amber sap from prehistoric trees, so check your lumber closely. 8-)

Have fun with your new old lumber and post pictures, please.

Best Regards. – Grandpa Len.

Work Safely and have Fun.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View MaroonGoon's profile


282 posts in 2494 days

#2 posted 09-16-2013 03:10 PM

+1 on the pics. I’m with Grandpa, wouldn’t it be something if you found a 50,000 year old beetle or something like that burrowed in the wood!

-- "Only put off until tomorrow what you are willing to die having left undone." -- Pablo Picasso

View Simon2822's profile


72 posts in 2951 days

#3 posted 09-16-2013 06:55 PM

Ther is a musuem dedicated to Kauri in the North Island of New Zealand. a fascinating place dealing with everything to do with Kauri, anyone who has an interest in wood and woodworking would love it. I know it’s a long way for you to go for a visit but the website would be worth a look (
Hope that helps,

-- If it's not right, it's wrong

View JR_Dog's profile


526 posts in 2856 days

#4 posted 09-16-2013 07:15 PM

That’s awesome Simon! And thank you everyone else.

View GrandpaLen's profile


1652 posts in 2808 days

#5 posted 09-16-2013 07:44 PM

The Kauri Museum

A very interesting Website.

Thanks for Sharing. – Len.

-- Mother Nature should be proud of what you've done with her tree. - Len ...just north of a stone's throw from the oHIo, river that is, in So. Indiana.

View aussiedave's profile


3114 posts in 2360 days

#6 posted 09-16-2013 10:07 PM

Hi JR, I could not find anything on what animals or birds roamed the earth then but I thought maybe you might be interested in reading this.

“Tane Mahuta”
New Zealand’s Tallest Kauri Tree
Agathis australis
Waipoua Forest, Northland

Tane Mahuta is New Zealand’s tallest Kauri tree, situated in the Waipoua Forest, in subtropical Northland. It is approximately 45 feet ( 14 metres) in circumference, and 169 feet ( 52 metres) tall.

Kauri ( pronounced “kah-oo-ree”) is a type of pine tree belonging to one of the most ancient families of trees. Kauri’s ancestors were to be found between 100 to 200 MILLION years ago. Tane Mahuta ( which means God of the Forest) is believed to be 2000 years old. It is part of a protected Kauri forest.

The second tallest Kauri tree can be found at Matapouri, just a few kilometres from in Ngunguru.

When the Europeans arrived in New Zealand in the early 1800s, they quickly recognised the value in the Kauri hardwood, and there was mass felling of kauri logs. The timber was used for ship building, houses, furniture, woodturning, and many other uses. As a result of the mass destruction of the Kauri forests, Kauri is now a protected species and cannot be felled.

Due to natural forces over thousands of years, many Kauri trees lie perfectly preserved in swamps throughout the North of New Zealand. Some have been carbon dated at 50,000 years old! It’s a mystery what made these giant trees fall – was it tsunami, earthquake, a volcanic eruption, mass flooding? Luckily for us, as the swamps were drained over the centuries, some of these Kauri trees appeared under the surface of the ground.

Swamp kauri is prized for turning into kauri wood furniture and tableware, including beautiful Kauri bowls. It may be the natural dark honey color, or natural stains may turn it a rich dark brown or even a greenish hue. Regardless of the color, the grain is what makes it so beautiful.


Kauri gum is a resin which bleeds from the Kauri tree when a branch is broken off or a cut is made in the bark.
It is a natural seal for the tree’s wound, preventing water or rot getting into the tree. The resin can bleed out into a sizeable lump, which is then discarded with the bark as the tree grows.

Pictured (left) above is a piece of kauri gum found by one of my ancestors. It measures approximately 8” x 5” x 5”.
The Maori used Kauri gum as a chewing gum and for lighting fires, and it was also used as a tattoo pigment. The Europeans collected Kauri gum from above ground and then later dug it up from below ground as well.
Men could make a living just from gum digging. The gum was shipped overseas to be incorporated into lacquers, varnishes and linoleum. Eventually the trade died off as synthetic substitutes were created in the 1930s.

Kauri Snails
Paryphanta spp

Kauri Snails are a giant carniverous land snail. Called pupurangi by the Maori, the kauri snail pictured is found in Northland but with close relatives in parts of Australia.

There is actually no relationship between the snail and the Kauri tree, as the ground around the base of a Kauri tree is usually too dry to be home for the worms the kauri snail feeds on.
Kauri snail eggs are white, oval, and about 1/2” long. They are deposited in nests in the leaf mould that makes up the forest floor.

Only 10% of snails are carniverous, making this snail unusual, and introduced predators have made the Kauri Snail a rarity and protected species in New Zealand.

-- Dave.......If at first you don’t succeed redefine success....

View JR_Dog's profile


526 posts in 2856 days

#7 posted 09-17-2013 02:48 AM

Dave, can’t thank you enough for this info; great stuff

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

23525 posts in 3642 days

#8 posted 09-18-2013 03:53 AM

I don’t know a lot about Kauri but that museum site was pretty nice and it said it a Gum tree. Sooooooooo, I’m sure there were kookaburras in that gum tree like I saw in Australia and like the song says!

Cheers, mate!!...................Jim

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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