Kauri Museum

Lars Alfredson
Fri 9 May 2014 05:59
Kauri Museum/Back to Whangarei - Boat Yard
Position 35:44.39S 174:20.38E

From our very quiet Camping place, where we couldn't use the showers or lock the
door of the kitchen, the Museum was not far away.  We were told by our Tourist
Radio that we would need at least 2 hours to look around, believe me when I say
we needed all day to get around everything.

When we arrived the woman who we started talking to turned out to be Swedish
and had been living in New Zealand nearly as long as I've lived in Sweden.


                      Hard work to saw by hand,                                                                                                                                  Easier with a band saw.

The Kauri trees were huge and took alot to cut down.  It makes very beautiful
furniture.  The Kauri tree is a type of pine that only grows now in New Zealand.
Before you could find it in Australia and Southeast Asia where it still has close
relations.  Some trees live over 2000 years reaching 50 meters and can be 20 meters
wide.  Its only after the inside rott that they topple over because of being to
weak to support its weight.  In the Museum there were large boards made from
the trees as well as showing the largest tree ever found in New Zealand.

                           Enormous plank from a Kauri tree.                                                                                       Showing the biggest recorded Kauri trees. Tane Mahuta is the innermost ring.


Gum is Amber in english, Bärnsten in swedish.  The Gum in New Zealand is  not as
old as the the Amber in England or Sweden.  It's from the Kauri trees
that we saw yesterday.  Some of the trees have been found under the earth and
some date back several hundred years. There was so much to see with the old
type of machinery and how they found Gum. The workers were called Gumdiggers.
They cut down the beautiful Kauri trees for timber and they discovered Gum
running out of the trees that were wounded.  The Mauri's chewed it and use it for
torches used in fishing.  They also used it for "moko" their traditional tattoos.

When the "Pakeha" the white man arrived they got into the act and exported
Kauri as a raw material for furniture varnishes. linoleum, denture moulds and the
"gilt" edging on books.  By the twentieth century, synthetic resins took over and
the gum market fell.  Kauri gum is considered still the finest varnish in the World
for musical instruments and occasionally, by accident, supplies are found when
the specialist need it.

The Museum has the World largest collection of Gum.  It's called the Ross Wing.
Lars unforunately didn't take any photo's of this amazing room but did take alot
of the machines etc.

We finished at the Museum around 15.00 and headed to the Boat Yard yet again.
Lars need to see what been done while we've been away and what still needs
to be done.  He wants the boat in the water asap.  We'll be visiting the boat yard
until the boat is in the water so it will be a week here and a week there until it's

Caroline and Lars