Agathis australis, commonly known by its Māori name 'Kauri', is a coniferous tree found north of 38°S in the northern districts of New Zealand's North Island.
The kauri timber used to make our products is from prehistoric kauri trees which were buried and preserved between 3000 and 50,000 years ago.
Buried under peat swamps by an unexplained force of nature at the end of the last ice age, the trees have survived the millenia underground, sealed in a chemically balanced environment that has preserved the timber in near-perfect condition.
The trees each grew for nearly 2000 years before they were buried. The trunk of a kauri tree can grow to a diameter of around 5 metres and an overall height of 40 - 50 metres.
Although today its use is far more restricted, in the past the size and strength of kauri timber made it a popular wood for construction and ship building, particularly for masts of sailing ships because of its parallel grain and the absence of branches for much of its height. Kauri crown and stump wood was much appreciated for its beauty, and was sought after for ornamental panelling as well as premium furniture.
In the late 1800s and early 1900s much of the living kauri was chopped down for purposes such as these. Thankfully, kauri became the first indigenous tree species in New Zealand to be protected and since 1973 no standing trees have been cut down. Today there are around 18,000 acres of kauri forest remaining.