just a few words in black

Sunday, February 24, 2008

New Zealand's Golden Kauri Gum

kauri gum

Our house is situated in the middle of a Kauri Grove. The trees are quite young (probably less than 100yrs) however the Kauri tree (Agathis Australis) is a most revered tree in New Zealand and Tana Mahuta, NZ's oldest Kauri tree still stands after 1250years and has a girth of 13.77metres. The high concentration of gum in the Kauri tree has helped to protect this species from infestations, rot and decay, and gives the wood a deep rich shine. The gum helped to preserve the Kauri wood when in past centuries (dating back some millions of years), the land became saturated and many kauri fell into the swamps. Swamp Kauri is still being discovered today and the deep rich red colouring of this wood still retains the gums shine seen in the yellow wood of younger trees. During the late 1800s up to the mid 1900s along with the progress of machinery and technology many kauri trees were decimated for export. It is now however a protected tree, and small groves can be seen cropping up in vegetation that have been left to re-generate.

Kauri Gum weeps from the tree when it is damaged or cut to protect the wood from insects. This gum can form in clumps at the base or beneath the tree and solidifies. The rough flaky exterior of the solidified gum can be chipped off and through a process of chiseling, sanding and polishing the above result can be achieved. This is a clump I purchased 'raw' and I thoroughly enjoy the process, the texture, and the smell as I whittle away the rough edges and create a glowing piece of New Zealand Amber or Kauri Gum.

If you would like to know more about the Kauri Tree and the gum it produces, these are links that I have found informative and interesting.

History of Kauri Gum
Classification of Kauri Gum
The story of the Kauri Tree


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swordie said...

Now I know... did not know that gum can turn into that beautiful. I'm sure those who see this are willing to buy it for decoration :D

Chica said...

That's really pretty. It reminds me of amber. I like all it's imperfections, and how you framed this photo, looks like it's on a cd or something, nice touch. :)

2sweetnsaxy said...

Great picture and I love the story that goes with it.