Local Heart, Global Soul

June 8, 2012

Using up the Off-Cuts and Scraps…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Following yesterday’s post we have arrived at the Kauri Museum in Northland…

Kauri was a highly prized timber in shipbuilding, house construction and flooring but to a far lesser extent for use in furniture.

This is because the more “interesting”  wood contained sap…in fact I spy an amazingly beautiful piece of polished timber (first photo) with a label on it that reads:

The Industry wanted and found, clean , straight grained and uninteresting first grade timber. The fancy grained and gum impregnated timber seen in the museaum was waste more often left in the bush or used as boiler firing

Fortunately now we are enlightened and Kauri is quite rightly a highly protected tree and the museum has amassed a small collection of Kauri furniture. Personally,  I’d have any of these pieces in my home in a heartbeat.

I even find it beyond belief that this beautiful wood was only considered as off-cuts and scrap material for almost the first 100 years of New Zealand’s Pakeha (white) settlement.  Maori of course understood the value of Kauri too,  but by all accounts used it sparingly for very special things like building ceremonial and ocean going Waka (canoes).

There are many old grand villa style homes and public buildings in New Zealand that were build around 1900  that still boast stunning Kauri floors or staircases and in one way I’m pleased to see the wood put to good use (if the tree was going to be cut down anyway) but in many cases the “wastage” of wood was massive and on a scale that these days would be thought a reprehensible and moral tragedy.

In this post I’m taking a look at some of the beautiful furniture in the collection…

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

(photograph © Kiwidutch)

Ok, so there’s no way I’m getting these boats into my apartment but they are Kauri too.

(photograph © Kiwidutch)


  1. What gorgeous furniture!

    Comment by Tilly Bud — June 8, 2012 @ 9:01 am | Reply

  2. Gorgeous furniture! The markings remind me a lot of curly/tiger maple or maybe even more like burl maple!

    Comment by Carrie — June 13, 2012 @ 11:03 pm | Reply

  3. Stunning pieces! I LOVE the look of unusual woods. These works are a amazing and the craftsmen who created them are true artisans.

    Comment by milkayphoto — June 15, 2012 @ 1:03 pm | Reply

    • They ARE beautiful aren’t they? (sigh)I honestly don’t fathom why IKEA is so popular when a few pieces like this would light up a room…ok price is a big consideration of course, but even more amazing the workmanship considering that this gum stained wood was considered the worst of the Kauri wood. (actually that turned out to be GOOD for the cabinet makers, I bet THEY weren’t complaining that the wood wasn’t plain LOL!)

      Comment by kiwidutch — June 15, 2012 @ 6:47 pm | Reply

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