History

Ancient Kauri History

Ancient Kauri is a unique wood with an amazing beauty and intriguing history. It is commonly regarded as the oldest workable wood available in the world. Ancient Kauri is an extremely old growth timber, which has been buried underground in New Zealand for approximately 50,000 years.

Kauri trees felled thousands of years ago by natural forces, and have since been resting in what were, at one time, peat swamps and bogs. The logs are typically found on ranch lands and are being exposed with a new name: Ancient Kauri. When a tree site has been identified, permission is secured, and expert operators of heavy equipment carefully expose and lift the logs out of the ground.

Radio carbon dating places the age of these Ancient Kauri trees at over 50,000 years old. Some of our most recent testing has been done at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, and University of Southern California, Irvine. As we reached the limits of Carbon Dating testing, it is probable that this wood is even older.

The trees are often immense, and raising the logs to the surface is just part of the job. Transporting them to a location to begin the milling process, and the milling itself, has necessitated some innovative equipment designs and plain old lumberman’ s ingenuity.

The early settlers of New Zealand harvested incredible amounts of Kauri around the turn of the last century, using it, first, for shipbuilding, and then for everything from houses and bridges to furniture and household items. Law now protects the Kauri trees that grow in New Zealand, and there are reserves on various areas of the North Island.

The scientific name for Kauri is Agathis australis. The species is endemic to New Zealand, and belongs to the Araucariaceae plant family. Kauri trees are conifers, meaning they produce cones instead of flowers for reproduction.

Kauri trees do still grow in New Zealand, and other locations around the Pacific Rim, including: Australia, the Fijian Islands, Malaysia, the Philippines, Indonesia, and New Caledonia. Ancient Kauri trees, however, are not found anywhere else on earth.




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