Kauri Gifts


Kauri GrainFrequently asked questions:

What is swamp kauri?
New Zealand Kauri that has naturally fallen and submerged by it’s own weight and lain buried in the swamp for thousands of years, preserved by peat and other oxygen-poor ground. Between the early 1800’s and the early 1900’s (The European 'pioneering' days of New Zealand)  the bush, along with many live kauri trees, were cleared to make way for farmland, and many partially submerged ancient swamp kauri trees were discovered. For many years this ancient wood was not appreciated by the farmers and even today swamp kauri is regarded as a nuisance as their farm implements and machinery gets caught on ancient kauri hidden just below the surface of the land.

Huge ancient kauri trees, some measuring several metres across, have been removed, and more are still being found today as farmers work their land. In many cases the peat has preserved the ancient kauri so well that even bark and leaves are still attached to the branches.

How old is the Swamp kauri in my bowl?
Each area of swamp land that has ancient kauri trees in it will be of a different age, but any large kauri tree would have been at least 1,000 years old before it fell into the swamp. A tree with a trunk diameter of 2 meters (not uncommon)  is a very old tree to start with. Tane Mahuta, a huge Kauri tree growing in the Waipoua forest in Northland, is about 2000 years old. The area around Maungatapere, where some of our timber is from has wood that carbon dating estimated at around 30,000 years old. 

What is Bush Kauri?
Kauri that has been reclaimed from the forest after the logging teams of the last century left. Usually stump or head log, it is often highly featured and has a definite golden colour. Kauri is a member of the pine family and one can see the resemblance in this bush kauri.

Why is the kauri all different colours?
The kauri falls into swamps where there are different forms of vegetation and minerals, which all affect the colour of the wood. Fresh water gives a dark, almost black appearance, while tea tree causes a greenish staining of the wood. Peat is responsible for the reddish colouring often seen in our timber from the far noth near Kaitaia.

Can I use my bowl for salads and fruit?
You can use the bowls for foods, but be aware that some foods (like a rotting banana!) will stain the wood, and constant wetting and wiping may cause more featured wood to crack and move more. Do not put into the oven or dishwasher (it has been tried!!). The bowls have been finished with wax, but if using for eating purposes, an oiling after each use (with a vegetable oil) should be sufficient.

What is the wax made of that you finish the bowls with?
It is a microcrystalline wax that museums are using to preserve and restore antiques. If polishing, using a wax rather than an oil for ornamental pieces is advised.

What do the numbers mean on the bottom of the bowls?
The number refers to the number of the bowl made in a particular year, for example 102/12 means the hundred and second bowl made in 2012.