Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Forest Giants

This is a photo I took of Tane Mahuta – Lord of the Forest, in Waipoua Kauri Forest in the Far North of New Zealand. Thought to be in the vicinity of 2,000 years old, Tane Mahuta has a girth of 13.77 metres, a 58 foot trunk and is 168 feet tall in total. Kauri (Agathis australis), normally live longer than 600 years and many exceed 1,000 years old.

Sadly, over 90% of the kauri forested areas of New Zealand standing before 1000 AD was destroyed by 1900. The far north of Northland is now home to the largest kauri forest stands. They are among the most ancient trees in the world and they were always important to Maori – who gave the large specimens personal names. Kauri was especially favoured as a timber for carving, building and canoe-making because of its toughness and durability. The grey, smooth bark could also be peeled off in large sheets and used in a number of ways; and kauri gum was used as a chewing gum.

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