In The 1920's
some of the last giant kauri trees were being cut down. below you can see a giant kauri tree being worked on, the next step is to saw through the remaining wood
Kauri cut down at the Piha, Karekare and Pararaha mills would be carried across rock & sand on a small railway built along the rugged coast line. Little evidence remains of the old railway.
In the above picture you can see the steep track used at Piha to carry milled wood over the 900ft hill to the train waiting on the other side. In the below picture is a view of the entire length of the old train line taking Kauri wood from the mills to the shipping Wharf at Whatipu beach. The train track was used between 1867-1921.
Special Thanks: Photo's and history available to see at the Huia Settlers Museum. Special thanks & recognition go to the works of Sir Bob Harvey, Bruce Harvey, The West Auckland Historical Society & Huia Settlers Museum who have worked hard for many years ensuring the History of The Waitakere Ranges is preserved and made accessible to visitors for many generations to come.
Information & pictures found above are available through 'The Huia Settlers Museum'.
Once upon a time not so long ago, New Zealand's north island was covered in the largest kauri forest in the world. 1.2 million hectares of kauri. sadly in the early 1800's, Kauri Tree Milling was big business & almost wiped out all the kauri trees in N.Z by the end of the 1920's only 0.3% of the original kauri forest was left standing. Much work has gone into restoring the Kauri Tree forests of New Zealand. Much more work remains!
Kauri (pronounced "kah-oo-ree") is a type of pine tree belonging to one of the most ancient families of trees. Kauri's ancestors were to be found between 100 to 200 million years ago.
Kauri were prolific in the past. Kauri are among the world's mightiest trees, growing to more than 50 metres tall, with trunk girths of up to 16 metres and living for more than 3000 years. Kauri forests once covered 1.2 million hectares from the far North of Northland to Te Kauri, near Kawhia and were common when the first people arrived around 1000 years ago. There are few giant old Kauri Trees left in New Zealand. In this picture taken by Michael Haswell in 2011, you can see one of these beautiful old giants hidden away in a secret location in Te Huia. Hopefully safe from harmful effects of the 'Kauri Die Back' disease, (having already survived the devastating Kauri felling era of the 1800-1900's).
Before train tracks were built Kauri trees would be moved down from the hills via water from the streams. special dams were built, filled with water and Kauri. once full the dam doors would be released, washing the trees down through the valley. much wood would get wasted, damaged and stuck along the way.
One of three mills once running in Huia
Tom thumb still standing proud in Huia today. untouched by millers of the past due to it's unusual trunk shape. It can be visited in our ' Huia Native bush tour'.
The Kauri tree has a new threat killing thousands of trees over the past years
The Kauri Dieback Is Slowly Killing Our Native Kauri Trees
So what is the Kauri Dieback?
Kauri Dieback refers to the deadly Kauri disease caused by Phytophthora taxon Agathis (or PTA). This fungus-like disease was formally identified in 2008 as a distinct and previously undescribed species of Phytophthora.
Kauri Dieback is specific to New Zealand Kauri and can kill trees of all ages.
What does it do to Kauri trees?
Microscopic spores in the soil infect Kauri roots and damage the tissues that carry nutrients within the tree. Infected trees show a range of symptoms including yellowing of foliage, loss of leaves, canopy thinning, dead branches and lesions that bleed resin at the base of the trunk. Nearly all infected Kauri die. Scientists are currently working to find control tools for this disease but there is no known treatment at this time. In the past 10 years, Kauri Dieback has killed thousands of Kauri in New Zealand.
How is it spread?
The spores of Kauri Dieback are found in the soil around affected Kauri. Any movement of infected soil can spread the disease. Human activity involving soil movement (on footwear, machinery or equipment) is thought to be the greatest cause of spread. Kauri Dieback may also spread through ground water and soil on animals.
When you are around Kauri:
- Stay away from walking on/around their roots
- Make sure shoes, tyres and equipment are cleaned to remove all visible soil and plant material before AND after visiting Kauri forest
- Please use cleaning stations installed on major tracks
- Stay on the track
- Keep your dog on a leash at all times