On our last day in New Zealand my son and I meandered down the North Island over to Matakohe and visited the Kauri Museum – another delightful museum. This place fives a real sense of the history of the timber industry in the area. New Zealand is/was home to some of the most amazingly magnificently gargantuan trees.
Kauri trees were huge. This is a wall display outlining the circumference of many of the largest trees that used to populate the island. The wood was used for everything from masts and spars of sailing ships to structures and furniture. The displays truly gave you an impression of how massive these beautiful beings were.
The museum wasn’t a small place but a large, rambling collection of exhibits fully describing the life of early settlers who worked in the timber industry. Dioramas of early life and mill work included mannequins of people who actually work and live in the area now.
This young man has spent quality time with chainsaws helping out with hurricane recovery in the Southeast US and this small part of the chainsaw collection was something of a magnet for him.
And entire section of the museum was filled with massive machines that were used to mill the Kauri timber. Banks of photos on the walls really gave you a feel for what the life of the lumberman and gum diggers (see below) was like. This is a mountainous country so moving these huge trees to the mill was an incredibly difficult operation.
This is polished wood from the Ponga Tree Fern…. such beautiful visual texture here!
Kauri gum is a resin that was used as an ingredient in chewing gum, and also collected. Most of the pieces are polished and look like Amber. I thought this carving of a Maori leader was fascinating.