new zealand vacation, accomodation, travel information, flight, car rental

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Giants of the Puketi Kauri Forest

The main purpose of my vacation to the Northland in May 2006 was to see the giant Kauri tree. I had read about it and just had to see one for myself. As recent as two hundred years ago, there were still large tracts of these Kauri forests throughout New Zealand, especially in North Island. However, the arrival of the European settlers in the 1800s led to massive logging and decimated much of these ancient forests. The Kauri tree was prized for its huge size and strength of its timber and these qualities made it especially suitable for ship building. A mature Kauri tree is bare of branches at its trunk, except at its crown, so this made it particularly attractive for use as the masts of sailing ships.

The Kauri tree is a coniferous tree. Like the giant Sequoia tree of North America, the Kauri tree can grow to become a very large tree and it can live beyond a thousand years! A mature Kauri can grow to heights of 40-50 metres with trunk diameters of 3-4 metres. A young Kauri is characerised by branches along its trunk which gives it a shape of a cone (hence coniferous tree). As it grows, it continually sheds its lower branches. At maturity, branches are found only at its crown and the mature Kauri is characterized by its imposing trunk that is bare of branches.

Today, the largest area of mature Kauri forest is found in Waipoua Forest in Northland. It is a 2,500 hectare forest which contains three quarters of remaining New Zealand Kauri. The largest living Kauri, named after the Maori god Tane Mahuta, which means “God of the Forest”, has a height of 51m, trunk diameter of 4.4m and a girth of 13.3m ! Te Matua Ngahere, which means “Father of the Forest”, is believed to be the oldest living Kauri and estimated to be more than 2,000 years old! Some of the larger Kauri trees felled in the past could be older than Te Matua Ngahere.

My New Zealand Vacation, Kauri Tree, Pano34
(click for larger photo)
Giant Kauri 600-800 years old, trunk bare of branches
Puketi Kauri Forest, May 2006

Instead of Waipoua Forest, I had visited Puketi Forest to see these giant trees. That morning had begun with rain and mist. Fortunately, the mist had started to clear up when we made our way into the forest. My original photos of these trees did not turned out well and resulted in the blurred effect. I am a little disappointed that this is the best photo I have of these Kauri giants. This Kauri tree is estimated to be 600-800 years old and compared to Te Matua Ngahere, it would only be a teenager! Nevertheless, it was a great experience to have met and be awed by a living thing this old !

If you want another glimpse of the giant Kauri tree, turn on your speakers, click here for the video and don’t wait too long before you experience your magical New Zealand vacation:

100% Pure ! video (click here)
Want more info? Search Google!
the web this blog