Scientific Name: Agathis australis
Species: Australis is the only species in New Zealand
The kauri tree, Agathis australis, is New Zealand’s largest and most famous native tree. The kauri is related to the conifer tree and grows in the subtropical northern part of the North Island.
Ancestors of the kauri first appeared in the Jurassic Period 190 – 135 million years ago. The kauri – podocarp (cone bearing) forests are among the most ancient in the world.
The largest kauri in existence is Tane Mahuta (Maori for ‘Lord of the Forest’). Tane Mahuta is 4.4 metres in diameter and 17.7 metres to the first branch. The Kauri Museum, Matakohe has displays showing even larger trees which were growing in the past. The oldest tree is estimated to be 3,000 years old. This is Te Matua Ngahere (Father of the Forest) in Waipoua Forest. Larger trees from the past were even older!