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Kauri was used to help re-build the city of San Francisco after a devastating earthquake and fire in 1906!

Before European settlement, much of Northland was covered in vast kauri forests. Māori used the timber for building boats and houses, and for carving. The gum was used as a fire starter and could be made into chewing gum.

When the first Europeans arrived in the 1700s and 1800s they found the trunks of young kauri made ideal ships' masts and spars, while the mature trees provided excellent quality timber for building.

Kauri was highly sought-after, and in the second half of the 19th century it was exported to Australia, California, and Britain. It was used to help re-build the city of San Francisco after a devastating earthquake and fire in 1906.

Kauri gum was used to make varnishes and other resin-based products. The gum was obtained through digging, fossicking in treetops, or even by bleeding live trees.

Unfortunately, as happened in other parts of the country, some areas were cleared by burning to create farmland, without consideration for the value of the timber or the suitability of the land for farming.

By the early 20th century, hundreds of thousands of hectares of forest had been decimated, and kauri was becoming scarce. Despite that, kauri logging continued into the 1930s. Finally in 1952 the 9105-hectare Waipoua Sanctuary was protected from logging.

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