Kauri forests were widespread across the northern part of of the North Island in New Zealand until the arrival of the Europeans in the early 1800's. The Kauri is a massive tree, believed to be the largest in volume in the Southern Hemisphere, slow growing and extremely long lived, their trunks grow straight and tall. Because the trunk is devoid of branches until far above the ground, it was seen as ideal material for making ships masts and spars back in the those early pioneering days. The forests were ravaged, kauris were felled by the thousand until only a few remained.
Slowly now, they are making a comeback, although it will still take many of hundreds, if not thousands of years until the forests return to their pre-colonisation state.
Puketi Forest, near Kerikeri in the Bay of Island, is one place where kauri trees can still be seen, although they are still relatively young. The tree on the right measures approximately 1.5 metres in diameter, impressive but still a mere sapling compared to some of the trees now lost. If it remains in good health, and is looked after, it could continue growing for another three to four thousand years!
The boardwalk helps to keep visitor feet off the forest floor, protecting delicate roots.
Walking in the New Zealand bush reminds me of growing up in the lower half of the North Island. The sights, the sounds of the birds, tuis, bell birds, fantails, the smell, all bring back happy memories of my childhood.
Stay tuned to the blog for more travel photographs from New Zealand.