• What are the statistics of the largest living Kauri trees?
    The largest diameter and oldest Kauri tree still living. It has been standing in Waipoua Forest on the Kauri Coast for an estimated 2,000 years. A first class 10 minute track from State Highway 12 leads you to the massive tree.
    Diameter: 5.22 metres (17 feet)
    Girth: 16.41 metres (54 feet)
    Trunk Height: 10.21 metres (33.5 feet) to first branch
    Volume: 208.1 cubic metres (7,346 cubic feet)TANE MAHUTA – LORD OF THE FOREST
    Tane Mahuta is the largest living Kauri tree in terms of volume. Awesome in size, approximately 1,250 years old, this tree is a wonderful sight. The Tane Mahuta is two minute walk from State Highway 12 in Waipoua Forest on the Kauri Coast.
    Diameter: 4.38 metres (14.4 feet)
    Girth: 13.77 metres (45 feet)
    Trunk Height: 17.68 metres (58 feet) – to first branch
    Volume: 244.5 cubic metres (8.631 cubic feet)

  • Who discovered Kauri gum made a good varnish?
  • It was after experimental shipments of kauri gum were sent to London in the 1830s by Gilbert Mair or James Busby, or both, that kauri gum’s value in the manufacture of varnish was discovered. One report has it that a shipment of 20 tons, pronounced worthless by London experts, was thrown overboard into the Thames (refer page 68 ‘The New Story of the Kauri’, A H Reed; 634.9). The Kauri Museum has the largest collection of kauri gum in the world.
  • What is a ‘super foot’?
  • 12 inches long –304mm, by 12 inches wide – 304 mm, by 1 inch thick – 25 mm.

  • How much Kauri is left today?
  • It is estimated that there is less than 4% of uncut forest left in small pockets. There are less than 1% of ancient kauri trees growing today.

  • What is the difference between Kauri gum and amber?
  • Kauri gum is known as copal – this is young amber. Amber is older and harder than kauri gum. We are able to date kauri gum up to 43 million years old in the museum. Amber dates from 25 million to over 200 million years.

  • Is Kauri still being recovered from swamps?
  • Yes.

  • Where does the Kauri wood come from used in the making of souvenirs?
  • Swamp kauri; recycled kauri; kauri kept in private stock; head logs and stumps that were left behind.

  • Are Kauri trees still cut down?
  • Trees may be milled if forest owners have a sustainable tree planting programme. A licence must be obtained to mill Kauri. The Forests Amendment Act 1993 has made it more difficult to cut down kauri trees.

About the Museum

  • How many people volunteer at The Kauri Museum?
  • Our Museum has approximately 100 volunteers. They provide valuable voluntary hours in many areas (i.e. Trust Board, Friends Committee, shop, gardening, display spring cleaning, archive work, research, machinery restoration, Live Models, etc).

  • How many people work at The Kauri Museum?
  • We have 12 full-time and 12 part-time staff and many volunteers.

  • Does The Kauri Museum receive Government funding?
  • No. Income is from door admissions and souvenir sales. However, we do apply for grants for major developments such as the Volunteers Hall, Sawmill, etc. Grants have been received from institutions such as ASB Trust, Lotteries Commission and Marsden Point Oil Refinery.

  • Who owns The Kauri Museum?
  • Ownership is vested in the Kaipara District Council, but is administered by Otamatea Kauri and Pioneer Museum Board, a charitable trust.


  • What is the proper name for the silver vases on the sideboard in the drawing room?
  • Epergne – an ornament for the centre of a dinner table holding flowers or fruit.

  • What is the silver container hanging at Mavis’ side in the living room?
  • A spectacle case or a spectacle chatelaine (a decorative and useful waist-hung accessory).

  • Where is the log hauler?
  • This is situated next to the old “Matakohe Post Office”.


  • What does Matakohe mean?
  • Mata – for Headland, and Kohe – for KoheKohe tree. Headland with KoheKohe tree growing on it (W.W. Reed, Dictionary of Maori Place Names).

  • What is a concretion?
  • Small rocks massed together by volcanic action to form large round rock like formations. An example can be found in the Ross Wing.

  • How did gumboots get their name?
  • From the fact they were made from latex rubber – gum from the rubber tree – hence the word gumboot.

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