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Jun 21, 2008

Kauri(Agathis Australis)is, on maturity, one of the largest trees found anywhere in the world, and one of the most commercially attractive, with a  long straight, branchless trunk producing durable straight-grained timber, and a resin once greatly prized for the manufacture of high quality paints, varnishes, and polishes. As a result, it was the basis of the first export trade from NZ and was cut and milled with a voracity hard to believe considering the technology of 19th-century NZ.

The kauri is a conifer, a native of NZ but related to trees of the same genus, Agathis, throughout the Western Pacific, most notably Australia, the Philippines, New Guinea, Indonesia and Fiji. It's natural habitat was in the north of the North Island of NZ, from a line running between Raglan(west coast of North Island)to Bay Of Plenty(east coast of North Island), through to Hamilton. The biggest stands of these huge trees were in Northland and the Coromandel Peninsula(both near top of North Island).

The largest ever-recorded kauri grew in Mercury Bay, on the east coast of North Island and when measured in 1850 had a girth of 23.43m and soared 21.8m to the first branch. A tree still growing near Whangarei(top of North Island, on east side), has a girth of 20.12, and the first branch is 30.8m from the ground. Tane Mahuta, the famous and oldest kauri in NZ, has a girth of 14m, is 51m tall and is 1,200 years old!

To get to know where all these Kauris lived, look on a NZ map, and spot them on the North Island landscape. That is one way of getting to know NZ!!

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Posted: Saturday June 21, 2008, 9:15 pm
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Deidre Williams
female, age 54, married, 5 children
Napier, New Zealand
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