We are about to leave the Waipoua Forest in New Zealand’s Northland, but first I wanted to mention that there is more than one giant Kauri to see here if you want.
Most are hidden away, protected and left in peace (as they should be) slowly growing to their giant size somewhere within the canopy of the Waipoua.
Several of the biggest though serve as both tourist attractions and educational sites so that people can see the trees for themselves and become aware that keeping them safe and healthy is a concerted work in progress rather than just a matter of slapping a protection order on them and hoping for the best.
I do spot that on some information boards Tane Mahuta is listed as “God of the Forest” and on others it’s translated as “Lord of the Forest” so I’m not quite sure now which one is correct. Maybe it’s one of those words in Maori that has several interpretations?
The Department of Conservation has erected numerous information boards so the visitor from near and far can learn as much about Kauri as possible when they stop off to see them. The conservation message is a strong one… and I’m glad to see that even in the walkway, trees of all varieties have been accommodated as much as possible rather then just torn down. One stump is a New Zealand punga, and tiny budding tree ferns are emerging from it just centimetres from the public’s feet.
It’s a nice sign that with care and careful management co-existence is very possible between mankind and nature.
We did pull in at Te Matua Ngahere (Father of the Forest) but found out at the car park that the walk to New Zealand’s second biggest Kauri Tree takes 20 minutes each way. Definitely out of reach for me on crutches and the two littlest kids were not enthusiastic so we ended up skipping this one, for this trip at least. I’ve seen Te Matua Nghere before too, as a teenager, it’s a shorter tree but fatter than Tane Mahuta… and it feels gigantic when you are close.
Back in the days when I first saw it school children used to link hands and try and surround it… I forget exactly how many kids it would take to make a circle around it but it was a lot… 15 or 20 or more from very vague memory. (depends entirely on the size of the kids naturally!) Of couse from what we know now about the fragility of the Kauri root system, this practice would have long since been stopped.
Learning to live in balance with nature is something I’m interested in… of course we all want our creature comforts and modern technologies and in cities there obvious restrictions and limits but if there is a sustainable way to find the maximum balance possible then I’m willing to make sacrifices to achieve it. Imagine if every spare green space in cities were used to grow veggies, trees or wildflowers, every new building and every building renovated were required to incorporate solar energy, rainwater catchment and brown water recycling.
I heard this week that Germany has now so far installed as many solar panels on homes and businesses nationwide that it’s the equivalent of the output of twenty nuclear power stations. It’s just the start, and Bravo Germany for taking such steps.
I hope we can become leaner and greener and can use human technology as wisely as possible so that both we and Kauri can both still be around happily co-existing in another 2000 years time.