From out of the bog and into the bedroom…
Timber extracted from swamps in the Northland region of New Zealand have been carbon dated at anything up to 43,000 years before present.
For the last 200 years, kauri has been highly prized by carpenters, cabinet-makers and boat builders. Although
there are bigger trees in the world, no other produces so much high quality mill-able timber.
Early New Zealand European explorers soon ascertained the tree’s potential. By the start of the 18th century,
kauri was being used as spars for the British fleet. It was also used widely for making splendidly durable furniture.
Aware of the need to protect such a valuable resource, Governor William Hobson sought protection for kauri making
it solely available for use by the British navy. His edict did little to preserve the native forests. By the time the loggers
recognised their greed had gone too far, it was almost too late. Now, the Resource Management Act curtails the supply
of indigenous timber in New Zealand. Those who want to work with kauri are limited to wind-throws,
demolition timber and imported like species.
In recent years overseas demand for this precious, unique resource has made sourcing more and more problematic. With the demand, so too has the standard of the material for local consumption deteriorated.
So much so that we are now limiting the use of this timber to the decorative rather than the structural elements of our work.